Trail Blazers Set Out To Beat L.A. In Summer League Tournament Final

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

After starting their stay in Las Vegas well over a week ago, the Portland Trail Blazers finish up summer league Monday night by facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the tournament finals at Thomas & Mack Arena on the campus of UNLV. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 pm.

After starting summer league 1-2, Portland’s victory Sunday night extended their win streak to four games going into the finals. Monday’s game will be Portland’s third in as many days and their sixth contest in the last seven days.

The 16-seed Trail Blazers reached Monday’s final thanks to an 87-82 come-from-behind victory over the 4-seed Memphis Grizzlies Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas. Both Caleb Swanigan (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Jarnell Stokes (22 points, 15 rebounds) recorded double-doubles for the Trail Blazers in the victory while guard Jorge Gutierrez put up his best performance of summer league with 16 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes.

Swanigan, who the Trail Blazers selected out of Purdue with the 26th pick of the 2017 Draft, is averaging 14.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 steals in seven games to lead Portland’s summer league squad.

The 15-seed Lakers enter Monday’s final having defeated the Dallas Mavericks 108-98 in the other summer league semifinal Sunday night at Thomas & Mack. Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, one of the favorites to win summer league MVP honors, finished the victory with 16 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds before leaving the game due to “calf tightness.” His status for Monday’s final is unknown.

What is known is that whichever teams takes the summer league tournament crown Monday night will be the lowest seed to win the championship since the tournament format was implemented in 2013. The 2014 Sacramento Kings, seeded 8th, were previously the lowest seed win the summer league tournament.

Monday night’s nationally-broadcast game can be seen live on ESPN. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 pm.