Kyle Kuzma, Lakers Beat Blazers Without Lonzo Ball, Win 2017 NBA Summer League

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 18, 2017

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 17: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2017 Summer League Finals on July 17, 2017 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Forward Kyle Kuzma scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Lakers over the Portland Trail Blazers 110-98 in the Las Vegas Summer League championship game Monday night.

Kuzma could not be stopped, shooting 11-of-16 from the field and 6-of-10 on three-pointers. With that effort, he finished as the Las Vegas Summer League's top overall scorer.

Guards Matt Thomas and Vander Blue pitched in 23 and 20 points, respectively, to help Los Angeles' scoring efforts. Thomas in particular was on fire, making all five of his three-point attempts and missing only one field goal overall.

Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan led Portland by posting 25 points to go along with 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Forward Jake Layman scored 21 for the Blazers, hitting 5-of-8 three-pointers.

Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft and the Las Vegas Summer League MVP, missed the game with a mild right calf strain. Shooting guard Josh Hart, picked 30th overall, sat with a sprained right ankle.

For the Trail Blazers, center Zach Collins, who was taken 10th, rested with a right quad contusion.

Led by Kuzma's big night, the Lakers dominated offensively from start to finish. They shot 61.5 percent from the field and a scorching 58.3 percent from beyond the three-point line.

The game was a back-and-forth affair for the most part, but Kuzma's three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer shifted the momentum in favor of Los Angeles:


Kyle Kuzma drains it at the buzzer for points No.30! #NBASummer https://t.co/FI98qpGLkq

That shot gave L.A. a five-point advantage, and then the Lakers opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 92-79 lead.

Layman hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the Blazers' deficit to seven points, but Los Angeles responded with two buckets and kept its distance from Portland for the remainder of the contest.

As Trevor Lane of Lakers Nation noted, Kuzma, who showcased an equal amount of ability while scoring from beyond the arc and at the rim, knew the Trail Blazers defense was no match for him on this night:

Trevor Lane @Trevor_Lane

Kuzma walks to the bench saying "They can't guard me"

However, the same could be said for Swanigan, who was fantastic in defeat.

The 2016-17 Big Ten Player of the Year at Purdue showed a tremendous amount of polish. When he wasn't showcasing slick post moves down low, he was hitting jumpers. When he wasn't corralling rebounds, he was setting up his teammates with deft passes, like this sweet dish to Layman:


Swanigan feeds Layman for the #RipCity SLAM! #NBASummer #PhantomCam https://t.co/LEfntNVdlO

Swanigan's passing got numerous NBA writers excited about his potential, including Zach Harper of FanRag Sports: 

Zach Harper @talkhoops

I am here for Point Swanigan for the rest of my life. Maybe time to move Lillard.

Though they will both face superior talent during the NBA regular season, the late first-round picks showed they could be important members of their team's respective rotations this season.