There was much excitement leading up to tonight’s Laker game. Large lines filled outside the entrances to the Cox Pavilion during the Cavaliers game, preceding the Laker game.
The energy was different.
This was Julius Randle’s second night of game time. He had a 10 point outing during his first game and Laker fans looked forward to seeing more of his offensive skill set.
The first half was a surprise. The Lakers led through the first and second quarter against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors had a record of sixteen consecutive wins leading up to the game. Once the second half started, the complexion of the game changed.
The Lakers led at the half 44-38.
One play stood out early in the second half. DeAndre Kane attacked the paint going right. He hit Randle on the baseline. Randle, faced up, used a spin move, drew in the defense, and hit Clarkson for an open three.
Julius Randle had multiple touches throughout the game, but almost all of his moves were of the face up variety. When the rare opportunity for a post move occurred, he’d end up facing the basket, using his bulk to bump the defender, and get a good shot within 7′ from the rim. A few times he tried to attack with a dunk, but drew foul calls instead.
It is a bit worrisome that his post game hasn’t come through just yet. The spacing doesn’t seem right, but Randle is willing to drive to the basket and hit open shooters.
Jordan Clarkson has put a stamp through three Vegas Pro League games. He’s aggressive. He attacks. He uses multiple changes of direction in isolation situations. He can play out of control. He has a Westbrook-style to his game. Their attacking style is very similar. Westbrook does it with elite level athleticism and explosiveness. Clarkson uses a good first step and multiple changes of direction to get the defender off-balance. Both are absolutely relentless.
Trey Thompkins had a good game. He used a few post moves to open up a couple of 12′ fadeaway jumpshots in the most. Later in the game, he became a target for a three-point shot. Though he went 4 of 10 from the field and hit just 1 of 4 behind the arc, he was clearly comfortable spotting up. He finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Once the fourth quarter started, the Golden State Warriors were on a run. They were down 76-69 with 6:00 left in the game. The Warriors came out with a 7-2 run to cut the lead down to 2 points with 3:55 left to play.
The Lakers had a back-to-back sequence on offense to provide a little spurt. Julius Randle attacked the basket driving left, drew in the defense, and hit Trey Thompkins for his lone 3-point make of the night.
Then Trey Thompkins stripped the basketball on the defensive end.
This led to a fast break spearheaded by Jordan Clarkson, who hit Kevin Murphy for a dunk. With 2:48 left to play, the Lakers extended the lead, 82-76.
Aaron Craft hit an open 3-pointer.
Kendall Marshall had a great move in isolation, using a behind the back dribble and nimble footwork for an impressive layup. The Lakers led 84-83 with 52 seconds left to play.
McAdoo hit 1 of 2 free throws.
Randle forced a drive going left, and turned it over.
Kendall Marshall had an isolation play, and ended up forcing a 20′ step back jumpshot. The shot missed.
Justin Holiday, the Warriors’ best player of the Vegas Pro League, got freed up by a screen for a 19′ jumpshot. Missed.
The game went into overtime. Summer Pro League overtimes last two minutes. Nothing else could create a larger sense of urgency. Both teams went back and forth, leading to the last set of critical plays.
Justin Holiday hit a 20′ jumpshot off of two screens to give the Warriors an 88-87 lead with 6.1 seconds left to go. As expected, the Lakers went to Julius Randle late. Randle attacked the basket. The ball hung on the rim. Clarkson tipped the ball in.
The Lakers defeat the undefeated.