Even in summer league the 2nd night of a back to back matters. The Lakers dealt with some heavy legs and strong ball pressure from the 76ers and looked the part of a team struggling. After having everything work out for them against the Pelicans on Friday, Saturday brought a slog of a game which looked very much like a contest the Lakers would not win.
Until, well, they did.
Keyed by a run where Larry Nance Jr. was a major force, the game came down to the final possessions and offered a sequence that had the entire building buzzing.
— NBA (@NBA) July 10, 2016
Yes, D’Angelo Russell still has ice in his veins.
Afterwards Jesse Mermuys commented that Russell “has the chance to be great” and said they had to do everything they could as a coaching staff and organization to help him get there. The comments were important and took on a different tone than so many of the post-game scrums from a season ago.
And while this is only summer league, it’s good to see a new attitude yet a re-emphasis and focus on developing the young players. That statement alone seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Yet, coming off a season where comments about wins and losses rather than development often took center stage, this really is a new world where it truly seems like this is more than lip-service.
In the end, though, Russell’s shot made mostly forgettable night quite memorable. And while there is still a long way to go and much to learn and get better at, the ultimate takeaway is that, at least so far this summer, basketball is shaping up to be fun again.