LAS VEGAS – On several levels Wednesday, the 76ers might have delivered their strongest – and perhaps most entertaining – collective showing of the summer. Unfortunately, the effort wasn’t enough.
With Lonzo Ball leading the charge for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sixers came up just short in a bid to advance to the second-round of the tournament phase of the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League. The 103-102 setback at Thomas & Mack Center resulted in the Sixers, now 1-3 in Las Vegas, being eliminated from championship contention. They’ll now wrap up their summer league slate Friday at 8:30 PM EST in a consolation pairing with the Chicago Bulls.
Chosen second overall in this year’s draft, the LA-area born and raised Ball erupted for a game-best 36 points (12-22 fg, 3-10 3fg, 9-12 ft), to go along with eight rebounds, 11 assists, five steals, and two blocked shots. He accounted for 15 points in a decisive fourth quarter in which the Lakers outdid the Sixers, 28-19.
Having built a lead as large as 15 points in Wednesday’s third period, the Sixers found themselves in command for much of the middle stages of the high-octane battle. Their scoring was balanced (five players finished in double-figures), with starters and reserves alike moving the basketball fluidly, and chipping in with important contributions. The Sixers’ defense had its moments, too, especially when the club got into a steady two-way rhythm heading into and out of halftime.
Turnovers, of which the Sixers committed only four prior to Wednesday’s intermission break, ultimately caught up with the team, and allowed the Lakers to scratch their way back into the game. Furkan Korkmaz, who notched a team-best 19 points (8-14 fg, 2-8 3fg), connected on a clutch triple with 90 seconds to go to give the Sixers a six-point advantage, but the Lakers closed the contest on a 9-2 run.
Thriving in the up-and-down, end-to-end pace that broke out at the start of Wednesday’s game, Alex Poythress threw down several emphatic first-half dunks against Los Angeles, including the one shown below.
In all, Poythress registered 16 points (7-11 fg, 1-3 3fg, 1-2 ft), five rebounds, and one monstrous, lap-top-screen-fritzing dunk on Lonzo Ball.
Missing Markelle Fultz for a third consecutive contest, and with Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot being forced to leave Wednesday’s fourth quarter early due to his upper lip laceration opening back up, the Sixers received a boost from their bench. Each one of Isaiah Briscoe’s eight minutes of play seemed to carry weight, as he sprinkled his 12 points across key junctures of the game.
James Blackmon Jr. was thrust into extended duty once Luwawu-Cabarrot went down. The Indiana product responded by nailing a timely triple at the 2 minute, 30 second mark of the fourth quarter that gave the Sixers a 97-92 edge. With just over five seconds to go, Blackmon unfurled a driving lay-up that flipped the scoreboard back in the Sixers’ favor, 102-101.
A complete box score can be found here.
In Wednesday’s first half, it was arguably the Sixers’ Larry Drew II, not Los Angeles’ Lonzo Ball, who stole the show. The 27-year old Drew II hit the incoming rook with an impressive double-crossover stepback 3-pointer that shot the Sixers into the locker room with an eight-point margin in hand. Drew II put up 12 points between the first and second quarters, while Ball had eight points during this same stretch.
Quote of Note:
“When they came to Camden two or three weeks ago, they came as professionals. They adapted what we want to do in Philadelphia – play hard, get out and run, defend, and share the basketball. That’s who we are. They all bought into it. There’s nobody that strayed off to do their own thing, which you get sometimes in summer league. It’s a great group of guys, and they stayed together the entire time.” – Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce, responsible for coaching the team in the NBA Summer League, on the summer league club’s growth.
Sixers Summer League Stream Sounds:
The Sixers are set to make their eighth and final summer league appearance Friday at 8:30 PM EST at Thomas & Mack Center against a Chicago Bulls’ squad that dropped a 88-77 tournament game to Portland Wednesday. The Bulls’ summer roster features Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono, 2016 first-round pick Denzel Valentine, and Lauri Markkanen, the No. 7 overall selection in 2017. Markannen, however, was held out of Wednesday’s loss.