Recently signed by the Lakers, Vander Blue already has plenty of familiarity with one of his teammates as he prepares for training camp.
Blue and Ivica Zubac not only helped the Lakers to the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League title; they also teamed up on the South Bay Lakers (then-Los Angeles D-Fenders) and made for a particularly devastating combination on Jan. 14.
Once down by 22 against the Canton Charge, Blue and Zubac improbably fueled South Bay to a 122-118 overtime victory.
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Zubac was responsible for helping force overtime, as he collected an offensive rebound with 1:20 left and flipped it in for the tie.
Then it was Blue’s turn.
With less than a minute left in the extra period he banked in a running floater to take the lead. When Canton answered back, he provided the crowning moment of his NBA G League MVP season.
Blue sized up his defender, utilized a pick and rose up from behind the arc while drawing contact. The ball soared through the air and swished through with 0.5 seconds remaining as teammates swarmed him.
Blue had his own celebration in mind, busting out the Conor McGregor-inspired “Billionaire Strut” before hitting the and-1 free throw to complete the four-point play and ice victory.
“Honestly on that last play I don’t know what was going through me,” Blue laughed. “I had never done the McGregor. I just felt the vibes.”
It was a huge moment to conclude a monster performance for Blue, who dropped 40 points. Blue was on fire from inside and outside of the arc, constantly burning Canton with his pull-up game while shooting 5-of-9 on 3-pointers.
“You never know with Vander,” head coach Coby Karl said. “He’s capable of making basically any shot on the court. He’s one of the best scorers in this league.”
But he did more than just score, managing four assists, four steals and zero turnovers. Two of his dimes went to Zubac, who dominated just hours after playing in the NBA Lakers’ game against the Clippers.
Zubac became the 10th player to ever play in the NBA and NBA G League on the same day, but he had plenty of energy for the doubleheader.
He racked up 20 points and 10 rebounds, while putting his signature shot to good use. Having splashed a hook shot against the Clippers, he saved three more for the game that night.
“I just want to get home and sleep,” said Zubac, who shot 8-of-10 from the field and hit all four of his free throw attempts. “This was a very long day for me. But if it were easy, everybody would do it.”