BY KAREEM COPELAND
Lonzo Ball had another strong performance in the NBA Summer League, this time in another brand of footwear.
Ball’s Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 94-83 in tournament play on Thursday. A night after a 36-point, eight-rebound, 11-assist performance, Ball had 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds against Cleveland.
Thursday’s winners advanced to the quarterfinal round on Saturday with Portland playing San Antonio, Miami facing Memphis, Dallas against Boston and the Lakers meeting Brooklyn.
Ball created quite a sensation Wednesday when, instead of his own ZO2 shoes, which sell for $495 under his family’s independent fashion line Big Baller Brand, he wore Nike Kobe AD sneakers. Ball kept people guessing Thursday when he jogged onto the court in a pair of James Harden signature Adidas.
“Big Baller Brand, you’ve got freedom to do whatever you want,” Ball said on the ESPN broadcast after the game. “I’m showcasing that.”
Ball showed off the gifted passing skills that president of basketball operations Magic Johnson coveted before the draft. He tossed alley-oop passes, outlets for dunks, kick-outs for jumpers and nifty passes in traffic. It was the third straight game of double-digit assists for Ball.
Fellow first-round draft pick Kyle Kuzma continued his strong summer with 20 points and a nail-in-the-coffin 3-pointer with 1:00 left off an assist by Ball to go up 90-81. The 2016-17 NBA Development League MVP Vander Blue finished with 18 points for the Lakers (3-2).
Point guard Kay Felder carried Cleveland (3-1) with 25 points.
In other action:
SPURS 86, PELICANS 81
Bryn Forbes, the summer league’s leading scorer, continued his summer onslaught with 29 points and five assists in the Spurs’ victory.
The Spurs guard has been a terror for opposing teams as San Antonio improved to 3-1 in Vegas. Forbes began the day averaging a summer league-high 29.3 points in the first three games after going undrafted in 2016. The former Michigan State Spartan knocked down a crossover, pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the arc to give the Spurs an 81-78 lead with 1:02 remaining in the game. San Antonio never trailed again.
Derrick White, the former Division II player who went No. 29 in the 2017 draft, finished with 15 points.
Pelicans (1-4) guard Quinn Cook cooled off with a team-high 16 points and seven assists after averaging 21.8 points in his first four games.
CELTICS 93, WARRIORS 69
The Celtics led from start to finish and simply ran the Warriors off the court with a 20-5 first quarter. Boston (4-0) didn’t play, or miss, the last two No. 3 picks in the draft in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Jabari Bird, a 2017 second-round pick, took advantage of the opening with 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Ante Zizic, the 2016 No. 23 overall pick, has gained steam as the summer league has progressed. He had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds to go with three blocks. Forward Rosco Allen scored 18 off the bench.
The Warriors (1-4) have been focused on getting extra court time for second-year player Patrick McCaw, who earned rotation minutes with the champs during his rookie season. He scored 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting.
NETS 85, NUGGETS 74
Second-year Nuggets guard Malik Beasley scored a game-high 20 points as Denver (1-4) fell to the Nets (3-1). The 2016 No. 19 pick entered the summer league preparing for a larger role in 2017-18 and averaged 19.3 points in his first four games. Denver, as a whole, struggled to score and trailed by 19 after being dominated in the third quarter.
The Nets got a total team effort Thursday as seven players scored eight points or more. Isaiah Whitehead had a team-high 14 points and veteran Spencer Dinwiddie added 13. Caris LeVert is trying to build on a 26-start rookie year last season, but scored 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson posted nine points and eight rebounds as Brooklyn continues to try to get experience from its young veterans, even if they played heavy regular-season minutes.
HEAT 91, CLIPPERS 84
The Heat (4-1) got big production from the diminutive Justin Robinson in the narrow victory. The 5-foot-8, undrafted guard from Monmouth scored 22 points and handed out six assists. Robinson hit a step back jumper to take an 80-78 lead with 3:38 remaining. The Clippers never lead again as a 10-1 stretch late in the fourth quarter put Los Angeles away.
Okaro White scored a game-high 23 points, including four 3-pointers, and added eight rebounds for the Heat as Gian Clavell chipped in 20.
The 2016 No. 25 overall pick Brice Johnson led the Clippers (3-1) with 13 points while Jamil Wilson scored 11 off the bench and Kendall Marshall added 10.
MAVERICKS 83, KINGS 76
In a matchup between lottery point guards, Dennis Smith Jr. was the one that had fans gasping. The No. 9 pick of the 2017 draft scored 25 points, including 15 in the first half, to lead the Mavericks to victory. Smith also had a near-spectacular dunk that had people talking despite the attempt being missed.
The reigning ACC freshman of the year also had seven rebounds and two assists.
The matchup with No. 5 overall pick De’Aaron Fox didn’t last long. Fox, who sat out Wednesday, tweaked an ankle, again, in the first quarter then didn’t play in the second half. He was held scoreless in seven minutes.
Johnathan Motley chipped in 15 points for the Mavericks, but All-Rookie second team selection Yogi Ferrell was held scoreless.
Justin Jackson scored a Kings-high 25 points.
GRIZZLIES 102, SUNS 98
Wayne Selden scored 33 points in 33 minutes while leading the Grizzlies to victory. Teammate Wade Baldwin, the 2016 No. 17 overall pick, added 21 and hit the game-winning layup to take a 100-98 lead with 8.6 seconds remaining.
Mike James scored 32 points for the Suns as the recently signed Euroleague combo guard knocked down 11 of 16 attempts. The 2016 No. 4 overall pick Dragan Bender added 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Josh Jackson, last month’s No. 4 pick, put up 13 points and eight rebounds for the Suns.
TRAIL BLAZERS 91, RAPTORS 85
Nick Johnson hit a jumper with 1:25 left to give Portland an 85-82 lead and Toronto didn’t score again until 14.3 seconds left. By then it was too late as 16th-seeded Trail Blazers pulled off the upset of the top-seeded Raptors.
Johnson scored a team-high 17 points as the 2017 No. 26 overall pick Caleb Swanigan had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Lottery pick Zach Collins did not play.
Fred VanVleet scored 31 points in 30 minutes for the Raptors and Jordan Loyd added 17. The 2016 No. 9 pick Jakob Poeltl totaled 10 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes.
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