The Lakers dropped their fourth consecutive summer league contest on Tuesday afternoon against the Spurs, 92-81, but got a strong individual game from point guard Darius Morris to highlight a better all-around team effort.
In three quarters of action, Morris did not miss a shot from the field, connecting on all nine of his attempts, plus six free throws to hit a Lakers summer league high 24 points with his team-high four assists. L.A.’s summer league coach Chuck Person opted to rest Morris in the fourth, letting rookie Darius Johnson-Odom and second-year guard Andrew Goudelock get some extra minutes.
The Lakers would get as close as six points with two minutes to play before Spurs wing Kawhi Leonard, who starts for their senior squad alongside Tim Duncan and Co., proved too much with his game-high 27 points and eight boards.
L.A. got 14 points and seven boards from 60th pick Robert Sacre in his 26 minutes, but it was Morris who took the game ball, showing some of the promise that helped make him the 41st selection in the 2011 Draft.
A big point guard at 6-4, Morris led the Big 10 and ranked fifth in the country in assists during his sophomore year at Michigan. He put on a good deal of muscle in his rookie year that he showed off while finishing through traffic in the paint on Tuesday.
He told us after a 50-point blowout loss to Miami in the team’s third game that he was disappointed with his performance in the first three contests, and wanted to respond against San Antonio with the kind of game he’s capable of playing.
Morris knows that, of course, Steve Nash and Steve Blake are ahead of him on the team’s depth chart on the senior squad, but treated the Nash acquisition with excitement, as he’s eager to learn tricks of the trade from one of the best to ever do it.
Still just 21 years old, Morris has plenty of room to grow, and – at least until training camp – one more contest to show L.A.’s brass how far he’s come in a year.
- Christian Eyenga added 13 points and four rebounds with a block in 30 minutes of action.
- Andrew Goudelock played only 18 minutes, scoring seven points on 3 of 7 field goals, including one of his patented floaters.
- Reeves Nelson provided some terrific energy off the bench towards a game team-high +13 while he was on the court. He grabbed three boards with a block and five points in his 15 minutes.
- No. 55 pick Darius Johnson-Odom grabbed four boards in his 13 minutes, and continued to play solid on-ball defense on the perimeter.
- After shooting in the 20′s against Miami in a 50-point loss, L.A. shot an impressive 51.7 percent from the field, but allowed 47.8 percent to San Antonio, who made five more three pointers than L.A.’s one in seven attempts.