Lakers Drop Opener at Las Vegas Suns

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The Los Angeles Lakers opened the Las Vegas Summer League game Friday night, taking on the Phoenix Suns at the Thomas & Mack Center.

While the Lakers got off to a good start in the California Classic with back-to-back wins, they’ve now lost two straight, with the loss to the Suns 104-84.

Two-way Lakers rookie Cole Swider is having a great start to the summer and it continued to start this one as he hit a three to open the scoring.

Max Christie also got off to a good start with five first points, including an outside shot. He struggled with his shot in the California Classic, so it was good to see him get one to leave early.

Once the starting group went to the bench, the Lakers offense struggled outside of a good layup from Mason Jones, which allowed LA to trail the Suns 24-17 for a quarter.

Louis King came on offensively for the Suns in the second quarter to extend their lead to double digits. Scotty Pippen Jr. saw the need to be aggressive for LA, going to the rim for a few circus layups, including a three-point play in which he fell into the crowd and was helped by LeBron James sitting alongside ground.

Other Lakers in attendance to support the Summer League team include Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wenyen Gabriel, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Thomas Bryant.

Pippen’s hot streak continued until the end of halftime as he helped cut the deficit to 48-42 before entering the locker room at halftime.

Ish Wainwright, who has some NBA experience with the Suns, has begun to assert his dominance over the young Lakers team. That, coupled with the Lakers continuing to struggle offensively, led to Phoenix opening up another double-digit lead, even taking it to over 20 after a Tyson Carter dunk.

The Lakers cut the deficit to 13 early in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as it gets. Shareef O’Neal was finally down a few minutes and was tenacious on the glass, also knocking over a few buckets around the rim.

Pippen led the way for the Lakers in the loss with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

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