The South Bay Lakers put up a good fight, but ultimately fell to the Oklahoma City Blue, 120-114, on Saturday night. Gary Payton II delivered an all-around performance in his first game since returning to the Lakers (0-1), finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Two-way player Luguentz Dort finished with a game-high 35 points to pace the Blue (1-0).
Despite falling behind by 15 points in the early moments, the Lakers clawed back and made it a seven-point deficit, 32-25, after one. Payton II was a spark off the bench, scoring six points in the frame, including two thunderous dunks. Talen Horton-Tucker had the hot hand for South Bay in the second quarter, scoring seven points in the frame, as the Lakers trailed 61-52 at the half. Dort led the Blue with 15 points at the break.
Oklahoma City started to break away in the third quarter, outscoring the home team by nine, to take a 96-78 lead into the final period. Dort scored 13 points and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell added 11 points in the third quarter to lead the Blue. South Bay continued to fight in the fourth, as Kostas Antetokounmpo led the way with 11 points, but the Blue found a way to secure the victory.
Dort’s game-high 35 points guided the Blue to their first win of the season and Akoon-Purcell added 26 points off the bench. Myke Henry and Kevin Hervey each scored 18 points, while Abdul Gaddy also finished in double figures with 12 points of his own.
Payton II’s double-double was one of three for South Bay as Antetokounmpo (21 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks) and Devontae Cacok (14 points, 10 rebounds, two steals) each grabbed one of their own. Horton-Tucker finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Demetrius Jackson tallied 13 points and seven assists for the Lakers.