Santa Cruz Warriors drop 2017-18 home opener to South Bay Lakers

SANTA CRUZ, CA - OCTOBER 31: Georges Niang
SANTA CRUZ, CA - OCTOBER 31: Georges Niang /

The Santa Cruz Warriors lost their 2017-18 season home opener to the South Bay Lakers.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The Santa Cruz Warriors, NBA G League affiliate of the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, dropped their 2017-18 season home opener at Kaiser Permanente Arena 135-138 in overtime to the visiting South Bay Lakers on Saturday.

The Sea Dubs will have a chance at revenge when they go visit the Lakers at the UCLA Health Training Center on Wednesday.

Quinn Cook followed up his 30-point performance against the Agua Caliente Clippers last Friday with yet another strong outing, leading all scorers with 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 40 minutes of play against the Lakers. He shot 11-of-20 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line, but only 2-of-7 from behind the arc.

Georges Niang also had another solid night, notching a double-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals. He shot 8-of-17 shooting from the field, 4-of-8 shooting from behind the arc and 4-of-5 shooting from the free throw line.

Damian Jones, on assignment from the Golden State Warriors, posted 18 points (7-11 FG), five rebounds, one assist and four blocks in 30 minutes. It’s entirely possible he would have ended up having a much better night, but he unfortunately fouled out with just under three minutes left in the game.

Antonius Cleveland has quickly become one of my favorite players off the Santa Cruz bench. He played just 19 minutes, tallying 16 points, three rebounds and one assist on 8-of-12 shooting. Michael Gbinije has also become a reliable source of production in the second unit, contributing 11 points (4-9 FG), six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 27 minutes.

Alex Hamilton nearly had a double-double, dropping in 17 points, two rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one block in almost 40 minutes. He’s looked incredibly comfortable in his staring role alongside Cook, forming a solid one-two punch in the Santa Cruz backcourt.

The Sea Dubs were up by as much as 19 points, failing to close out strong against South Bay. Speaking to Santa Cruz’s Aaron Miles after the game, the rookie head coach took responsibility for the loss and broke down what he felt the team struggled with the most over the course the second half.

“Defensively, man, they (the Lakers) got into the paint and made plays,” said Miles. “I thought Scott Machado, late, made plays — big. But all of them — (Alex) Caruso was in the paint, as was Vander Blue. We gotta do a better job on the ball screens and keeping them out the paint.”

“Offensively, the ball got stagnant — even though we scored more than enough points to win a game, you know what I’m saying? It’s ridiculous — 138 points we gave up — it’s ridiculous.”

Next: Santa Cruz Warriors obliterate Agua Caliente Clippers

“But as a coach, I take responsibility for the ball sticking and things,” Miles continued. “We’ll watch film and make some adjustments before this next game, but they (the Lakers) got a good team, a competitive team. That’s what I like about that squad over there — when they were down, they kept fighting. We just gotta do a better job of staying composed late and executing.”