Vegas Pro League: Lakers Win the Final Game 83-77
The Lakers began with their most talented lineup. Rodrigue Beaubois and Jordan Clarkson started as the guards. Kevin Murphy and Julius Randle started at the front line. Jerome Jordan has the best combination of length and athleticism at center.
The Denver Nuggets ran with Erick Green and Gary Harris as the starting guards.
The Lakers ran off to a strong start. Beaubois drove left against his man and drew a foul. Kevin Murphy drove left from the right baseline and nailed a floater. Julius Randle kept going with the attack game, as he did a drive-and-dish to Jerome Jordan for a foul at the hoop.
Clarkson had a quick back-to-back sequence displaying his talent. First, Jerome Jordan threw him a lob pass from the high post, where Clarkson finished with a reverse layup from mid-air. Once the Nuggets missed their shot on the next possession, Clarkson steamrolled down in transition, caught the defense on their heels, and got the easy lay up.
Kevin Murphy capped the run with an And-1 after nailing a three-pointer.
DeAndre Kane got more time at the point guard position. He ran his pick and roll sequences very high, past the three-point arc. This limited his offensive efficiency with the play. One sequence had him driving against his defender, attacking left, and hitting Roscoe Smith for a finish, which led to a foul. On another possession, Kane found himself running back-to-back pick-and-roll situations with the clock being an issue. The offensive set looked broken with the weakside of the floor standing still. Smith forced an 18′ jumpshot, which missed. Frustrated, Kane made up for it on the next possession by drawing a charge on the Nuggets. Kane ran a fourth pick-and-roll sequence, where he attacked hard driving left, and finished with a layup. He overpowered his defender on the way to the hoop. The next sequence was more impressive. Kane looked more comfortable receiving the ball in the high post. From the 15′ elbow, he surveyed the floor, and hit a teammate on a cut for a layup. That was the best demonstration of his court vision all week long.
By then, the Lakers had extended the lead 29-17 at the end of the first quarter. Kane had a couple of consecutive sequences that looked good entering the second quarter. Kane received the ball in the high post again, at the right elbow. From the post position, he attacked going left and got another layup. On the defensive end, his opponent attacked the basket against him, and he was able to block the shot in transition at the release point.
Denver put on a series of runs after doing a better job not turning the ball over. At the end of the second quarter, the Nuggets had 13 turnovers, the Lakers had 5. At the half, the game was tied at 43.
The third quarter was rough for both teams. Offensively, both teams were out of sync, with lazy turnovers and bad fouls. The Nuggets scored 11 points in the quarter. The Lakers didn’t do much better with 13 points for the quarter.
However, Kevin Murphy had 14 points by the end of the 3rd. DeAndre Kane finally ran a pick-and-roll sequence tight to the 3-point line. The roll man dove to the hoop, leaving Kane open for a three. Swish.
The fourth quarter was capped off nicely by the Lakers’ best. DeAndre Kane had two hard drives in transition, reminiscent of his Iowa State games. Both times in transition, he had the defender in front of him, on his heels, as he rose up to finish with the layup.
The Lakers closed the game well in the last three minutes. After a very poor 1 of 9 from the field, Randle kept attacking the basket, and drew and And-1 driving left for a layup. Xavier Gibson had a powerful throw-down dunk after a well-timed pass from Kevin Murphy on the drive. Clarkson changed directions consecutively behind the three-point line, drove left, and made a hanging 5′ shot. Randle capped off the game with a hard drive going right, against contact, and making a 5′ shot.
The Lakers won the game 83-77. They finished the Vegas Pro League with a 2-3 record. The two wins came against the toughest teams; the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets. Kevin Murphy and Julius Randle both had 14 points.