In their second-to-last game of the NBA 2K23 Summer League in Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 102-94.
Sacha Killeya-Jones got the Lakers started with a pair of buckets to give them an early lead. Max Christie was able to follow it up with a tough contested three at the top of the arc, and a Scotty Pippen Jr. layup extended the lead to 9-4 midway through the first.
Mason Jones picked up where he left off from the last game by coming in and instantly nailing his first triple of the night, but the Pelicans also found their shooting stroke from outside and quickly took a six-point lead. Los Angeles’ defense failed to close out to shooters and they would trail 27-19 after the first quarter.
Jay Huff finally made his return to the lineup off the bench and scored off a drive and put back to briefly tie the game 28-28. Huff continued to make his presence felt on both ends, and a transition three from R.J. Cole capped off a 15-4 Lakers run.
Both teams started to trade baskets, but it was Vito Brown’s activity around the rim that helped keep L.A. ahead by four. Pippen and the rest of the Lakers were able to close out the quarter strong by stringing together stops and they went into halftime leading the Pelicans 52-44.
Cole Swider caught fire at the top of the third, draining three 3-pointers and a midrange pull-up to give the Lakers a 14-point advantage. Los Angeles remained firmly in control before New Orleans went on a quick 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 11.
Like the first half, the Laker bench allowed the Pelicans to creep back in as their outside shooting made it a single-digit game before Huff halted the momentum. L.A. tightened up the defensive screws at the end of the period and they would take an 80-69 lead into the fourth.
Javante McCoy kept the Lakers comfortably ahead with an and-one opportunity and an above-the-break three, putting them up 13. New Orleans threatened to come back once again, but it was Pippen this time to answer the call with a quick five points to keep them at bay.
The Pelicans made a last-gasp effort to climb back into it as they pushed the pace and got it to within eight. However, Max Christie and McCoy were able to respond down the stretch and the Purple and Gold would spoil New Orleans’ chance at the championship game.
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