We were back in El Segundo to watch the Los Angeles Lakers’ G-League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, take on the Maine Red Claws. By the way, the Red Claws happen to be the Boston Celtics’ G-League affiliate.
The SB Lakers happened to get Alex Caruso back for this game. Thomas Bryant and Ivica Zubac were also on this game’s roster. The Maine Red Claws had a familiar face on their squad: former #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett.
As has been the case the past few games, the SB Lakers got off to another tremendous start. They made their first seven of nine field goals. They were able to get some stops and convert in transition. The home team had 14 fastbreak points compared to Maine’s zero as they had a 30-23 overall lead after the first quarter.
It was more of the same in the second quarter. The SB Lakers raised their lead to double digits as it looked like they were on their way to another blowout win. Their lead grew to 13 by halftime, 63-50.
However, the Red Claws, well, clawed their way back in their third quarter. Before the SB Lakers knew it, Maine took the lead late in the third as former Gonzaga Bulldog Drew Barham made back-to-back buckets. A three-pointer by Caruso would tie things up and after the third, the contest was suddenly a close affair, 85-85.
It was a back-and-forth game for most of the fourth. The SB Lakers couldn’t stop ex-Georgetown Hoya L.J. Peak, who scored 17 of his 37 points in the final stanza. But the SB Lakers came through in the clutch. They had a quick 7-0 run to take a 111-106 lead. They didn’t give up the lead from there as Zubac made consecutive buckets in the paint. With the lead cut to 117-115, Scott Machado made a floater with 30 seconds left to pretty much seal the win. The South Bay Lakers got their third straight win after dispatching the pesky Maine Red Claws, 121-115.
The SB Lakers had seven players in double figures. Alex Caruso and Thomas Bryant each had 18 points to lead the home team; Ivica Zubac had 17 points, 9 boards, and 3 blocks. As mentioned earlier, L.J. Peak had 37 for the Red Claws. Anthony Bennett had a fast start and ended with 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals.
After the game, we told Thomas Bryant of his impressive scoring and efficiency (18 points, 7/10 FG in 20 minutes). He seemed surprised by it. Bryant noted that he didn’t know before the game that the Maine Red Claws were the Celtics’ G-League affiliate so he got fired up when he learned that. It was partly the reason why he was yelling so much after each power move and dunk.
I brought up their transition game (SB Lakers had a 29-2 lead in fastbreak points) and he felt that their fastbreak game slowed down because they couldn’t get any stops in the second half. It’s not that they underestimated the Red Claws; it’s just that he felt that they didn’t fight back hard enough at times when Maine was making a run. I asked him what he liked the most about the win. He said he was so glad they beat the Celtics (even if it’s their G-League affiliate)! Thomas Bryant really loves being a Laker.
The South Bay Lakers have won seven of their last nine games (third straight win overall) and are technically on top of the Western Conference at 21-12. The Red Claws went to 16-19 after the loss. They go on the road for their next game as they take on the Reno Bighorns on Wednesday night.
*We’d like to thank Noah Camarena, the media relations coordinator of the South Bay Lakers, for giving us this opportunity to cover the team.