Why Winning the Summer League Matters...
It's the Lakers!
In the first semifinal matchup of the day, it took double-overtime for the Lakers to advance to the 2018 Summer League championship game. LA beat Cleveland, 112-109.
Then it was the Trail Blazers turn. It was a dogfight between Portland and Memphis and it came down to the wire but the Blazers would remain undefeated in Summer League (6-0) with a 97-92 win over the Grizzlies.
Now it’s a rematch from last year’s championship when Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers to a 110-98 victory over the Blazers here in Thomas and Mack Arena.
Not only could this be a nice #BeatLA revenge game, but winning this entire tournament is important to both the Blazers and Lakers.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Trail Blazers Outsiders will air live on NBCS Northwest immediately following the game!
To See The Team Achieve Their Goal
The Trail Blazers Summer League squad set a goal from the beginning: Win The Tournament.
Zach Collins weighed in on the importance of achieving that goal:
“We’re all competitors on this team and we’ve been saying from day one our goal is to win this whole thing. So regardless it’s Summer League and people say it’s not competitive, we’re all competitors out here and there’s a lot of guys out here fighting for spots, so it’s competitive the whole time and we’re ready; we’re ready to go get the championship." - Zach Collins
The Players Want It
Ask around the team and you'll get this response a lot....players want to win. Period. It doesn't matter that it is "just summer league" to them.
“We’re all competitive. We all want to win out here. We’ve got this far too, so why go home with a loss. “
“It’s fun for us to play them again. We had a tough loss last year. We didn’t have our best game, so I think we’re all excited to get back out there and get a win this year.”
Finishing What They Started
Putting the final stamp on this journey of the Summer League team is important to the coaching staff as well.
Coach Moran talks about the growth of the team and how a Summer League Title would cap it all off:
“It’s a good confidence builder for these guys. I think they’ve done a really good job in a short period of time really becoming a cohesive unit and we have great comradery in the locker room. You can definitely feel a team dynamic, so you like to see them kind of finish what they started two weeks ago in Portland.”
It Sets The Tone For The Fall
This Lakers Summer League team is a very different looking team from a year ago. LA does not have a lot of its core guys, but SL head coach Miles Simon knows how bringing home another Summer League trophy is a good building block for the Lakers young guys.
“It sets the tone for going into the fall. It’s building blocks and steps for us. We took the momentum from Summer League with Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and all those guys we had last year and stepped that up into 37 wins or however many we had and those guys had all good rookie seasons and we’re trying to build on that going into this year with a new team.”