After holding leads in the final minute of both regulation and overtime on Sunday evening in Las Vegas, the Lakers lost to Charlotte on a sudden death bucket in double overtime to fall to 0-2 in Sin City.
Sudden death is a summer special in the NBA, and certainly delivers from a dramatic perspective, but the Lakers were on the wrong end of this act as Charlotte’s JT Thor hit a corner three after L.A. failed to score on their first possession of the second extra session.
OT, let alone double OT, did not seem likely for a team that had the ball up 81-75 with 1:19 to play in the fourth quarter.
But Charlotte managed an and-1 layup in transition, then a fastbreak three surrounding a pair of Lakers misses to tie the game. Mason Jones couldn’t get a buzzer-beating attempt to fall, prompting the first overtime session of two minutes (as compared to five in the NBA).
The Lakers seemed to have that one in hand as well, as Jones atoned for his regulation miss with a three that put L.A. up one with 16.2 seconds on the clock. After a stop, Cole Swider hit two free throws to make it an 86-83 lead. But instead of taking a foul to give, L.A. fouled a three-point shooter, and three makes tied the game with just 4.3 seconds left in OT. Jones freed himself for another triple at the buzzer, but that one missed.
It was a game largely controlled by L.A., who started the contest on an 18-6 run, perhaps irked by their Friday-evening loss to Phoenix to kick off the Vegas portion of their summer after a 2-1 performance in the California Classic.
“We responded and showed some resilience,” said Summer League Coach Jordan Ott, new to Darvin Ham’s staff. “We had a mistake at the end (not fouling when up three), but we’ll evaluate it and keep getting better.”
Charlotte did manage to trim that margin to five at the half, and then three after the third quarter, before eventually rallying to take their first lead since early in the game with 7:21 left in the fourth. They continued their push to lead by as many as seven, until Lakers two-way player Cole Swider somehow managed to score eight points in 32 seconds.
The sharpshooter out of Syracuse started the personal run with a technical free throw with 4:45 to play, and followed that up with a 3-pointer to cut the margin to one. Charlotte countered with a three-point possession of their own, only to watch Swider hit an and-1 three from the corner, his fifth triple in eight attempts, to tie the game at 75.
“I was just trying to win,” said Swider, who led the Lakers with 21 points on 6 of 10 FG’s. “It’s tough to win in the NBA, tough to win today, I just want to play my heart out and try to win the game.”
The fourth quarter run continued behind Max Christie, who hit four straight free throws, and then in transition as Nate Pierre-Louis notched his second steal, before dropping off a dime for a transition dunk from Sacha Killeya-Jones to deliver the Lakers their six-point lead with 2:31 to play.
Both teams failed to score in the next 1:30 until the Hornets ran off six straight to force the overtime.
L.A. held Charlotte to 37.3 percent from the field, but after shooting 52.6 percent in the first half themselves, converted only 11 of 37 shots in the second half (29.7 percent) as the Hornets turned things around.
The Lakers forced 23 turnovers in the game for a plus-eight edge in that category, but allowed 13 offensive boards to their seven, and put the Hornets at the line five more times.
Christie and Scotty Pippen Jr. both scored 10 points in their starting roles, with Pippen Jr. adding seven assists and three steals, while Killeya-Jones blocked four shots as he continued to fill in for Jay Huff (health and safety protocols). Jones scored 13 points off the bench, while Shareef O’Neal was active with seven boards and four points in 15 minutes.
Up next is a Tuesday evening contest against the Clippers.