The Los Angeles Lakers second game of the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League came on Saturday, with a showdown against the rivaled Boston Celtics. After a dismal debut, guard Lonzo Ball was able to bounce back early and lead the Lakers.
The Lakers broke out for a quick 10-0 lead, thanks to three-pointers from Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Entering summer league, head coach Jud Buechler wanted the roster to get up and down the court, while making a conscious effort on the defensive end.
With Brandon Ingram ruled out for the rest of summer league, it gave a chance for Ball to take on more of the creating duties. Ball looked a lot more calm on the court, while playing up-tempo and facilitating it for six first half assists.
Although the Lakers had a great game defensively, they fell to the Celtics by a score of 86-81. Kuzma led the way with a game-high 31 points, while Nwaba contributed 13 points and eight rebounds. Ball also had a phenomenal bounce back game, collecting a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
The Lakers held the Celtics to just 34 points in the first half, with great defensive plays from Nwaba and Kuzma. Kuzma also got hot offensively in the second half, with deadly three-point shooting and drives to the basket. The No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft made a strong case towards a rotation spot, excelling offensively and taking on the challenge to guard both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown defensively.
The Lakers showed a competitive spirit, never giving up and always battling back into the contest. Although they fell down by 10 points in the second half, their defensive pressure created turnover opportunities and fast break chances. Los Angeles brought the lead down to four with a minute left, but was unable to get a key bucket on an offensive foul.
Ball certainly took on the floor general position, continually finding his teammates and creating a contagious environment to play in. His shooting stroke was also improved, finishing the contest shooting 5-for-13, despite a few forced shots at the end of the shot clock.
The Lakers wrap up the round robin games of the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League with their Monday showdown against De’Aaron Fox and the Sacramento Kings.