EL SEGUNDO– The South Bay Lakers closed out 2017 with a win over the visiting Salt Lake City Stars, 116-94 (box score), on Saturday night. Travis Wear led South Bay (14-7) with 27 points, including 5-6 from beyond the arc, while Scott Machado (21 points, 11 assists) and Demarcus Holland (career-highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds) picked up double-doubles for the Lakers. Salt Lake City (3-20) was paced by Erik McCree (21 points, seven rebounds) but struggled with their shot all night, finishing at 38.1% (37-97) from the field in the loss.
Wear came out firing for the Lakers, leading South Bay to a 32-16 lead through one, with nine points. The Lakers maintained their 16-point lead at halftime, 59-43, as Wear had 16 points by halftime. McCree and Isaiah Cousins paced the Stars with 11 points apiece in the first half.
Salt Lake City fought back in the game in the third, cutting the Lakers lead to 89-81 through three. Deonte Burton led the way with 10 points in the quarter. Wear and Machado combined for 16 points and Holland pitched in seven of his own in the third for the Lakers. The fourth quarter was all South Bay as they held the Stars to only 13 points. Coby Karl relied on his bench to finish the game, including Ian Baker who scored nine points in the final frame.
Salt Lake City had five players reach double figures, led by McCree’s 21 and Taylor Braun’s 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Burton (14 points, six assists), Jermaine Taylor (12 points) and Cousins (11 points) also finished in double digits while Utah Jazz assignee Tony Bradley grabbed eight points and 12 rebounds for the Stars.
Wear’s strong shooting night (27 points, 10-15 from the field) guided South Bay to the win, but a career-night from Holland (17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) and strong play from Machado (21 points, four rebounds, 11 assists) ensured that the Lakers would not burn out. Baker also had a career-night with 11 points, three rebounds and four assists, while Stephaun Branch (13 points, six rebounds) and Thomas Bryant (10 points, eight rebounds) also reached double digits for South Bay.
The South Bay Lakers will start the new year on the road when they face the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Tuesday, January 2 at 4:30 from the Sanford Pentagon. The last time these teams squared off, Thomas Bryant hit a buzzer-beating three to send the game to overtime as Alex Caruso tallied a career-high 41 points in the 139-135 South Bay victory.
The NBA G League’s South Bay Lakers, the first franchise in G League history to be owned by an NBA team (Los Angeles Lakers), returns 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.