The Lakers announced on Friday that Larry Nance, Jr. only sprained his wrist during Thursday’s game. This is obviously great news after it was reported that he could have suffered a fracture. Nance, Jr. is listed as day to day but he will not play in Friday’s consolation round game against the Jazz.
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The Summer Lakers lost on Thursday night for the first time in Las Vegas. Despite a strong first half, the Lakers crumbled in the second half, especially on the defensive end. The Cavaliers used strong performances from Jordan McRae (36 points) and Kay Felder (20 points) to pull away with a 88-80 win.
In a way, this was a bit of a good thing for the Lakers. Now we get a look at some of the deficiencies that the team still has, instead of raising expectations based simply on summer league play.
The Lakers went back to their roots in the second half. Ball movement and player movement stopped almost entirely. More importantly, the Lakers struggled mightily on the defensive end.
Some of the defensive struggles were caused by the rotations. Whether it was to give more playing time to other players or for some other reason, coach Jesse Mermuys did not play Anthony Brown or Ivica Zubac much at all in the second half. An argument can be made that those two players are the Lakers’ best defenders.
Some of it was also simply great shooting by McRae and Felder who caught fire in the second half.
Offensively, some blame must be placed on D’Angelo Russell. The second year point guard started off well, hitting six of his nine shots in the first half.
In the second half, Russell struggled mightily, hitting only one of 11 shots. Part of that was simply missing a ton of jumpers. A lot of it, however, was due to forcing and rushing shots. More importantly, Russell struggled a bit in getting the ball moving and setting up the offense.
Overall, that’s fine. Russell’s been fantastic in Summer League and he’s still young. But it is important to note he has plenty to work on still.
Brandon Ingram, meanwhile, continued to play the right way despite not hitting shots, consistently. The rookie finished with 13 points on 2-7 shooting. Ingram made correct decisions, throughout the game, however. Where he can look to improve is better balance on his closeouts as well as better focus on his boxouts.
The worst news of the night, however, is Larry Nance, Jr.’s injury. The power forward fell hard on a dunk attempt after a Cavs’ player drew a charge. (#BanTheCharge) Nance told Ivica Zubac that he had broken his wrist on the fall.
Preliminary testing says that Nance fractured his third metacarpal in his right hand although the Lakers will do further testing tomorrow. The injury has a timetable of anything between 4-8 weeks. Fortunately, that will allow Nance to get back in time for training camp. It is unfortunate, however, that Nance (who has played incredibly well this summer league) will miss some development time.
The Lakers will return to action on Friday against the Utah Jazz in the Consolation Round. That will be the final game for the Summer Lakers until the preseason.