The Los Angeles Lakers opened up Las Vegas Summer League play on Friday night, taking on the Phoenix Suns at the Thomas & Mack Center.
While the Lakers got off to a hot start in the California Classic with back-to-back blowout wins, they have now lost two straight, with the defeat to the Suns coming by a score of 104-84.
Lakers two-way rookie Cole Swider is off to a really good start to the summer and that continued to begin this one as he hit a three to open up the scoring.
Max Christie also got off to a nice start with five early points, including an outside shot. He struggled with his shot in the California Classic so it was good to see him get one to go early.
Once the starting group went to the bench, the Lakers’ offense struggled outside of a nice layup by Mason Jones, resulting in L.A. trailing the Suns 24-17 through one quarter.
Louis King got going for the Suns offensively in the second quarter to extend their lead to double digits. Scotty Pippen Jr. saw the need to be aggressive for L.A., getting to the rim for a couple of circus layups, including a three-point play in which he fell into the crowd and was helped up by LeBron James sitting courtside.
Other Lakers in attendance supporting the Summer League team included Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wenyen Gabriel, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Thomas Bryant.
Pippen’s hot streak continued through the end of the half as he helped cut the deficit to 48-42 going into the halftime locker room.
Ish Wainwright, who has some NBA experience with the Suns, started to assert his dominance over the young Lakers squad. That, coupled with the Lakers continuing to struggle offensively, led to Phoenix opening up another double-digit lead, even working it to more than 20 after a highlight dunk by Tyson Carter.
The Lakers cut the deficit to 13 early in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as they would get. Shareef O’Neal finally got some minutes late and was tenacious on the glass, also knocking down a couple buckets around the rim.
Pippen led the way for the Lakers in the loss with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
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