South Bay: Summer League Recap

By Joey Ramirez | July 18, 2018

Las Vegas Summer League Finals: Blazers 91 Lakers 73
It was a rough way to end a successful fortnight in Vegas, as the Lakers entered Tuesday’s championship game with a 6-0 record but left after a wire-to-wire loss.

Alex Caruso — who missed the previous game due to illness — put his grit on display, fighting off exhaustion to provide nine points, four assists and three rebounds.

Caruso had been on the road for three weeks straight, playing in Mexico, Cuba, Sacramento and Vegas before ending his traveling as one of the few Lakers who found some success in the title game.

Malik Newman (four points, three rebounds), Stephaun Branch (two points) and Demarcus Holland (two rebounds) all received sparing minutes.

Las Vegas Summer League Semifinals: Lakers 112 Cavaliers 109
To reach the Summer League championship game, the Lakers had to survive a double-overtime thriller against Cleveland, and they had to do it without starting point guard Alex Caruso, who remained at the team hotel due to an illness.

Two-way-contract guard Malik Newman stepped into the rotation and scored four points on a couple mid-range jumpers.

Demarcus Holland saw four minutes of action, while Stephaun Branch did not play.

Las Vegas Summer League Quarterfinals: Lakers 101 Pistons 78
The Lakers kept their perfect Las Vegas record intact by throttling Detroit to advance into the summer semifinals.

Alex Caruso made some plays, finishing with six points and three assists in just 19 minutes (starters were able to rest the fourth quarter). He also ended the first half with a buzzer-beating four-point play that had new teammate LeBron James dancing in his seat.

Fellow two-way-contract signee Malik Newman got a bit of run at the end and hit a couple shots to finish with five points in three minutes.

Demarcus Holland (two points, three rebounds) got 13 minutes of run, while Stephaun Branch (two rebounds) played one.

Las Vegas Summer League Tournament Opener: Lakers 82 Clippers 69
With a loss meaning an end to the Lakers’ chances at the summer title, Alex Caruso provided his trademark playmaking and defense in a quarterfinals-clinching victory.

Caruso set the table with eight assists, while his defensive impact was best shown by his +20 plus/minus and the Clippers’ 35.3 percent shooting from the field.

Caruso and fellow South Bay alum Demarcus Holland teamed up for one of the best plays of the night: a tic-tac-toe sequence that saw Holland steal the ball, give it to Caruso and get it back for a layup.

Holland had four points and three rebounds, while Stephaun Branch added two points and two assists. Malik Newman did not play.

Las Vegas Summer League Game 3: Lakers 109 Knicks 92
There was direct correlation between Alex Caruso’s playing time and the Lakers’ success against New York. In his 26 minutes of playing time, L.A. outscored its opponent by a whopping 41 points.

In his best summer league game yet, he was a dealer, handing out 10 assists of all varieties — slash-and-kick, pick-and-roll and general ball movement.

While Caruso only attempted three shots, he also added five points, four rebounds and just one turnover. He was also excellent on the defensive side of the ball, making winning play after winning play, particularly in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Demarcus Holland added two points in 11 minutes, Stephaun Branch played one minute and Malik Newman did not play.

Las Vegas Summer League Game 2: Lakers 69 Bulls 60
In a defensive-minded battle, the Lakers needed every bucket they could get. Alex Caruso gave them a nice start, scoring all eight of his points in the first quarter.

Caruso hit a layup out of pick-and-roll and splashed two open 3-pointers. He also had four rebounds and three assists in 22 turnover-free minutes.

The G League Defensive Player of the Year runner-up was also a major part of the Lakers holding Chicago to 30.4 percent shooting.

Malik Newman missed all four of his shots from the field. Demarcus Holland and Stephaun Branch played one minute apiece.

Las Vegas Summer League Game 1: Lakers 96 Sixers 79
After dropping all three games at the California Classic, the Lakers got it together in Vegas, smashing Philadelphia in the opener.

Recent two-way signee Malik Newman — who nursed a foot injury in Sacramento — made his debut, shooting 1-of-3 with his lone scratch being a spot-up 3-pointer from the corner.

Alex Caruso got the start, and while he missed all four of his shots from the field, he was much more under control, notching three points, three rebounds and four assists against three turnovers.

Stephaun Branch and Demarcus Holland each played two minutes at the end of the game.

California Classic Game 3: Warriors 77 Lakers 71
Stephaun Branch enjoyed his best game of the early summer, scoring six points on 3-of-4 shooting in just 12 minutes at the Lakers’ California Classic finale. All of his buckets came at the rim, whether off the dribble, in transition or on a cut.

Meanwhile, Alex Caruso struggled to find rhythm, scoring seven points on a 2-of-6 clip, while committing eight turnovers against two assists.

Demarcus Holland got the start at small forward in place of a resting Josh Hart, but played only 10 minutes due to an injured hip from a nasty fall in the previous night’s game.

California Classic Game 2: Heat 89 Lakers 74
Nobody had a busier 48 hours than Alex Caruso, who flew from Cuba to Miami to Los Angeles to Sacramento, finally arriving in town for the California Classic at 8:30 in the morning on game day.

Despite potential fatigue, Caruso was plenty active, tallying eight points (including a nice crossover into a finger roll), four assists and three steals. Yet he — like the majority of his teammates — was also sloppy, committing six turnovers and four fouls.

Demarcus Holland had a nice outing, scoring 10 points and hitting both of his 3-point attempts. Stephaun Branch added four points, five rebounds and a block in 12 minutes played.

California Classic Game 1: Kings 98 Lakers 93
With two-way Lakers Alex Caruso (USA Basketball commitment) and Malik Newman (left foot sprain) unavailable for the California Cup opener, South Bay alumni Demarcus Holland and Stephaun Branch represented in Sacramento.

Holland played 23 solid minutes on both sides of the floor, showing off his trademark aggressive defense in his summer league debut.

On the other side, he flashed some scoring ability, providing seven points on 3-of-4 shooting via two drives and a 3-pointer. Holland also pitched in four rebounds and two assists.

Branch got 12 minutes of run and scored three points, all at the foul line. He was more active defensively, snagging a pair of steals and putting a swat on second-overall draft pick Marvin Bagley III.

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