Ivica Zubac returned for his fifth game in the NBA G League and changed the complexion of the South Bay Lakers’ offense.
In doing so, he scored 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting with nine rebounds to help them to a 137-132 win over the Memphis Hustle.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 18, 2017
Zubac was at his best late in a back-and-forth game.
Up by two with three minutes left, Zubac poked away a post up for a steal, then snuck behind his defender for a bucket at the rim and finally hit Alex Caruso with a nice post pass for the game-sealing basket.
Zubac has only played 14 minutes with the Los Angeles Lakers this year. With this assignment to South Bay — including the team’s upcoming three-game road trip — he hopes to prove his services capable of playing time in the NBA.
“I’m just trying to show what I can do,” Zubac said. “This is my chance to show my skills and hopefully get minutes on the big team.”
Zubac’s conditioning certainly helped, as he managed to stay fresh despite playing 32 minutes in the fast-paced NBA G League environment. He credited his wind to running sprints after practice every day with Luol Deng.
Meanwhile, his South Bay teammates certainly helped him out in this game.
Caruso (19 points, 13 assists) got him going with some early pick-and-rolls. He and Scott Machado (10 points, 10 assists) kept Zubac involved down low with post ups and an alley-oop.
Zubac also benefitted from the spacing provided by Travis Wear, who dropped a career-high 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting.
Wear also splashed six 3-pointers, which prevented his defender from cheating over to help contain Zubac.
While Wear unquestionably had the hot hand from outside, he also gave some props to Zubac’s shooting, as the 7-foot-1 sophomore hit a triple of his own and a mid-range set shot.
“He can knock down shots as well,” Wear said, “but (he was) just being a load down low.”
South Bay gets the W!
Big games from the big men, as Travis Wear (29 pts, 6 3's) and Ivica Zubac (26 pts, 9 reb) help get the job done! pic.twitter.com/bSPBXyWJeF
— South Bay Lakers (@SouthBayLakers) December 18, 2017