Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and the Los Angeles Lakers will take on Caleb Swanigan and the Portland Trail Blazers in the championship game of the 2017 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas on Monday.
- Tipoff: 10 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: WatchESPN
After dropping their first two games in Vegas, L.A. has now run off five straight behind the brilliant quarterbacking of its point guard, Ball.
Following a 16-point, 10-assist performance in the semifinals on Sunday, Ball’s averages are at 16.3 points, 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals.
Ball’s status for Monday is in question, though. Early in the second half, he left Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks with calf soreness.
Spectrum’s Mike Trudell provided insight from both Ball and Lakers summer coach Jud Buechler:
If Ball isn’t able to go on Monday, the Lakers’ title hopes will rest squarely on the shoulders of Kyle Kuzma and Vander Blue.
Kuzma, in particular, has been a dynamic scorer for the Lakers throughout the entire summer league. After six games, his scoring average is up to 20.5 points on 48.4 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent from three.
Picked 27th in this summer’s draft, Kuzma‘s offense has surprised some. And he’s going out every night in Vegas looking to prove he was taken too late, per Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters:
Portland, meanwhile, will continue to rely heavily on Swanigan, another late 2017 first-rounder who went one pick before the Lakers snagged Kuzma at 27.
At 14.9 points and 10.4 rebounds, Swanigan is the only player in Vegas to appear in at least five games and average a double-double.
“That’s all he is. He is a human double-double,” Travis Miller wrote for Purdue Boilermakers blog Hammer and Rails. “He was put on this earth to rebound errant basketballs. As I have said before, if I had to throw a baby from a burning building the one person I would want on the street to catch the child is Caleb Swanigan.”
Will Swanigan dominate inside again? Or will Kuzma and the Lakers’ offense continue to fire on all cylinders?