Lakers and Trail Blazers advance to Summer League finals

Source: Sbnation.com


 

Lakers and Trail Blazers advance to Summer League finals

Lonzo Ball took down Dennis Smith Jr., and Caleb Swanigan helped orchestrate Portland’s 19-point comeback.

Lonzo Ball got off to another hot start. The Lakers’ rookie point guard had 16 points and 10 assists on 71 percent shooting in his matchup against Dennis Smith Jr. and the Mavs on Sunday.

His highlights include literally punching an assist up-court to a streaking teammate:

And rocketing an outlet pass the full distance of the court to a streaking teammate for a basket:

Then Lonzo apparently pulled his left calf early into the third quarter. The Lakers subsequently took him out, and although the team said he could play if needed, the matchup between this class’ top point guards was slammed shut.

Smith finished with 21 points and six assists of his own. After falling to Dallas at the eighth pick in the NBA draft, the North Carolina State product has turned heads with his surprising bounce and scoring ability.

Smith tore his ACL in his senior year of college, but he has turned rims into his punching bags ever since.

And a few of his 21 points came on Lonzo’s watch, as well:

Ultimately, Smith and an impressive group of young Mavericks rallied from a double-digit deficit to come within a respectable margin. But the Lakers still pulled away with a 108-98 win with Ball as the twilight of the night.

Los Angeles moves on to the Summer League finals for a shot at the tournament crown against the Trail Blazers on Monday. Smith takes his first NBA loss to Lonzo Ball.

There are several ways you can cut a two-game night that also featured Portland’s 19-point comeback victory. But if you called the night quits early, here’s what you missed:

Portland’s great comeback

Memphis was giving Portland a lashing. The Grizz were up 19 in the third quarter thanks to solid play from Wayne Selden, Vincent Hunter, and Jarell Martin. But Blazers rookie Caleb Swaniganadded onto an impressive Summer League output with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The big man continued to showcase his ball-handling ability, busting out off defensive rebounds and pushing the ball in transition. He’s also 6’9” and has shed from over 350 pounds down to 250.

Swanigan missed all four of his three-pointers on Sunday, but he and Jarnell Stokes — 22 points, 15 rebounds, two steals — rallied back to push the Trail Blazers to a championship semifinals victory.

Portland now advances to face Lonzo’s Lakers in the title bout. The hype around both teams should make for one entertaining Summer League finals.

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