Los Angeles Lakers: South Bay Lakers’ wrap up NBA G League showcase

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Last week, Los Angeles Lakers G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, went to Las Vegas for the 2019 MGM Resorts NBA G League Winter Showcase.

The Los Angeles Lakers, and every team in the NBA, had an important week when it comes to scouting. The format of the G League Winter Showcase tournament had changed from previous years but is still used as a major scouting opportunity for the NBA.

The games of the tournament were based on the league rankings up to that point, and then broken down into brackets. Additionally, the outcome of the tournament games counted toward each teams’ season records.

The Lakers kicked off the 4-day tournament on Thursday, December 19 against the Lakeland Magic. The two teams stayed close in the first half, heading into halftime one point apart.

Unfortunately, the Lakers couldn’t keep up with the Magic down the road. BJ Johnson went off for 29 points, shooting 12-of-18. Amile Jefferson also showed up, dropping 22 points and collecting 15 rebounds. Overall, the Magic’s rebounding and shooting percentage earned them the win.

South Bay still put on a worthy performance. Talen Horton-Tucker had 24 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Close behind, South Bay stand-out, Gary Payton II, had 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

Next, South Bay faced the Texas Legends. Devontae Cacok returned from being on assignment to the Los Angeles Lakers. Fresh from the NBA, Cacok finished with 32 points and 15 rebounds.

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However, Josh Reaves of Texas had 23 points and six rebounds. His teammate, Nate Mason, also had 22 points and 11 assists. With Payton II away on assignment to Los Angeles, the Lakers were unable to pull out a win.

Despite the Lakers losing both games during the tournament, the showcase served successful for some. On Sunday, December 22, the NBA’s Washington Wizards signed Gary Payton II.

With Wizards’ guard Isaiah Thomas out on suspension, Payton’s contract may be short term. However, his consistency as a rebounder and constant contributions as a high-scorer make his appealing to Washington. Last season Payton held a 10-day contract with the Wizards.

The South Bay Lakers will lay dormant until after the holidays. Their next game will be played on Saturday, December 28, against the Northern Arizona Suns in Prescott Valley, Arizona. NAZ has struggled this season immensely with rebounding and finding any way to pull out a win.

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They are currently last in the NBA G League Western Conference, with two wins and 15 losses. Even without Payton II, the Lakers should be able to come out of the break with an easy matchup, warming back up for the second half of the season.