EL SEGUNDO – In their lone preseason game of the 2017-18 season, the South Bay Lakers beat the Northern Arizona Suns, 120-116, from the UCLA Health Training Center on Sunday.
The Lakers strong shooting performance paved the way as the team shot 50% from the field (44-88) and 40% from three (10-25). A balanced effort led South Bay as six Lakers scored in double-digits, led by center Thomas Bryant, who pitched in 18 points and 8 rebounds while on assignment from the Los Angeles Lakers.
South Bay got off to a strong start in the first quarter, outscoring the Suns 40-28. In the first frame, reigning league MVP Vander Blue filled up the box score with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists while Scott Machado added nine points off the bench. All-around effort from South Bay led to a ten-point halftime lead (61-51).
Northern Arizona fought back in the third quarter, outscoring the Lakers 38-32, behind 16 points from Alec Peters, to cut the lead to four. In the fourth quarter, the Lakers were paced by Franklin Session, who scored 14 points in the final frame, and helped put the Suns away.
In total, South Bay enjoyed a 66-38 advantage in points in the paint and scored 22 fast break points against only nine by Northern Arizona.
The Suns were led by 27 points from Peters and 22 points off the bench from Josh Gray. Peters, on a Two-Way contract with the Phoenix Suns, also grabbed seven boards and shot 4-7 from behind the arc. Also in double figures for the Suns were Shaquille Harrison (17 points, 5 rebounds) and Steven Green (10 points, 6 rebounds).
For the Lakers, Bryant, Session (17 points, 3 rebounds) and Blue (15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) led the way, while Demarcus Holland added 14 points on 5-10 shooting. Machado (11 points, nine rebounds) and Stephaun Branch (10 points, four rebounds) also scored in double digits for South Bay.
South Bay will kick off the regular season on Saturday, November 4 with a road matchup against the Santa Cruz Warriors. The Lakers will return for their regular season home opener on Wednesday, November 8 against the Warriors.
The NBA G League’s South Bay Lakers, the first franchise in G League histry to be owned by an NBA team (Los Angeles Lakers), will return for its 11th season of competition in 2017-18. The Lakers franchise has established itself as a top producer of NBA-ready talent, totaling 26 NBA Call-Ups and developing 19 Lakers assignment players since the inaugural 2006-07 season. Last season, the Lakers returned to the playoffs for the third time in the last four years and produced the league MVP in guard Vander Blue. The Lakers have claimed three division titles and have twice competed in the NBA G League Finals, most recently in 2015-16.