While the Los Angeles Lakers are pretty hot at the moment, the South Bay Lakers are enjoying the same thing. At El Segundo on Friday night, they took on the Northern Arizona Suns once again, who they blew out nine days before that.
The South Bay Lakers had Thomas Bryant again. It must have been a fun three days for Thomas as he was with the SB Lakers in Reno on Wednesday (which the SB Lakers lost in a close one), the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then back with the SB Lakers on Friday.
The Northern Arizona Suns had another NBA face with them in this game. Lavoy Allen started for the N.AZ Suns. His last stint in the NBA was with the Indiana Pacers.
And once again, the SB Lakers got off to a fast start. They led by as many as 11 points as Scott Machado scored eight points and dished out five assists in the first quarter. There was a highlight play in that period where Gary Payton II threw it off the backboard for a Thomas Bryant slam. Oh, those showoffs. The SB Lakers led, 34-29, after one
It was the Shaq show in the first half. Not Shaquille O’Neal but former Tulsa guard Shaquille Harrison. He made 9 of his first 10 shots and ended with 22 points and six dimes in the first half. The N.AZ Suns took over the lead as the half ended, 71-69.
Ex-UCLA Bruin Travis Wear heated up in the third quarter for the SB Lakers. He kept the team in a back-and-forth affair as he scored 13 in the third quarter. The SB Lakers were back on top at the end of the third, 93-92.
The game was tied at 100 at one point before back-up SB Lakers big man Michael Holyfield tipped in a Payton lay-up. The SB Lakers would never surrender the lead despite a few close calls. Thomas Bryant cut in for a lay-up to extend the lead to 117-112 with 1:37 left in the game. The foul game had to be played by the N.AZ Suns but the SB Lakers held on for the 123-118 win.
Interestingly enough, the G-League has this option where they can advance the ball to midcourt after a rebound without having to take a timeout. Both teams used this option late in the game and it certainly sped up the contest a little bit. I would like to see the NBA do that so that we don’t have teams calling 45 timeouts in the last 45 seconds.
The SB Lakers got a triple-double from Scott Machado, who went for 15 points, 10 boards, and 17 assists. Travis Wear had another double-double with 23 points and 14 boards. Thomas Bryant had another big game with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Six players on the SB Lakers went for double figures. Shaquille Harrison had a hot start with the N.AZ Suns but was mostly subdued in the second half. He had 25 points and 12 assists. Former Phoenix Sun Archie Goodwin went for 20 points.
We talked to back-up big man Michael Holyfield after the game. He doesn’t play a lot for the team but he made a big impact in his short stint in the game. Holyfield had 12 points and 9 boards (8 offensive!) in just 13 minutes of play. He said that he gets his role on the team, waits his turn every day, and work hard in practice. He certainly made the most of his turn on Friday night. I asked him what felt different from this game compared to the 25-point blowout on January 31st. He mentioned that every situation was different (the Phoenix Suns called up Josh Gray recently). Holyfield also said that it’s all about getting better and making progress as a team instead of focusing on others. He felt that’s why they’ve had a hot streak as of late.
The big man went on to say that the game came down to rebounding (again, he had 8 offensive rebounds himself and the SB Lakers won the rebound battle, 55-51). I asked him what he liked best about that game and he said that he was happy to get an opportunity to play and that he was very happy to play with his teammates.
It certainly looked like it. The team overall looked very happy and bouncy after the win. It’s their fourth win in five games as they go to a 22-13 record (second in the West). The N.AZ Suns go down to 16-19.
The South Bay Lakers face the Santa Cruz Warriors on the road on Sunday night before ending a back-to-back on Monday against the Texas Legends back at El Segundo.