The Lakers have a bad habit of terrible first games during the Vegas Pro League. The game against the Raptors was no exception. In fact, the first half had hardly anything notably positive to remark about. The starting lineup included Mbekwe, Scott Wood, Jordan Clarkson, Kendall Marshall, and Xavier Gibson. Julius Randle did not suit up.
At halftime, the Lakers had 16 turnovers, shot 38.7% from the field, and looked out of sync as a team altogether. They were lucky to be down 47-33.
Jordan Clarkson had a solid start individually, but really stepped up in the 3rd quarter. He had a four-minute stint in late in the 3rd quarter where his best talents were on display.
At the 4:22 mark, Clarkson went end-to-end in semi-transition for a layup. He puts pressure on the defense with good 3/4-court speed. He doesn’t walk up the court and has the defense on their heels.
At the 3:05 mark in the 3rd quarter, Clarkson went up against three Toronto Raptor defenders and dunked in traffic.
At the 2:50 mark he split a hedge off of a pick-and-roll situation, which led to a Roscoe Smith dunk on the dish.
At the 1:42 mark, he attacked the paint off-the-dribble, and hit an 8′ floater in the paint.
By the end of the 3rd quarter, he had 18 points on 6 of 11 shooting, 4 rebounds, and a couple of three-point baskets.
The Lakers had cut the lead to 61-54.
The 4th quarter began with a spurt by the Toronto Raptors. Clarkson couldn’t keep up the energy and the Raptors were executing well behind the play of Dwight Buycks and the finishing ability of Lucus Nogueira. John Shurna hit 5 3-pointers throughout the game, and Bruno Caboclo shot 5 of 7 from the field finishing with 12 points. He looked every bit of a 1st round pick on the floor.
Despite the Laker loss, Clarkson and Trevor Mbekwe looked great on the floor as a tandem. Clarkson did an excellent job of splitting double teams, breaking down defenders off-the-dribble, getting into the paint, and finding the open man.
Kevin Murphy finished with 16 points on 7 of 16 from the field, a recipient of the drive-and-kicks from Clarkson.
Clarkson finished with 21 points on 7 of 15 from the field, 2 of 4 behind the arc, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
The play of the game was between Clarkson and Trevor Mbekwe. Clarkson was the primary ball-handler of a high pick-and-roll situation. He split the defensive hedge and attacked the paint, which led to a Trevor Mbekwe poster.
The Lakers take a night off tomorrow. The next game is Sunday at 1:30 PST against the New Orleans Pelicans.