RENO, Nevada — The South Bay Lakers beat the Reno Bighorns, 126-109, on Tuesday night to advance to the NBA G League Western Conference Final. Gary Payton II and Travis Wear each tallied a double-double to lead the Lakers to their second consecutive victory. JaKarr Sampson led the Bighorns with 25 points, but it wasn’t enough as Reno was eliminated from the postseason.
South Bay took an early 33-24 lead after the first quarter behind Payton II’s all-around play. The Lakers two-way guard posted nine points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in the opening period. The Lakers fell behind by as many as seven points in the second quarter, but South Bay scored nine points in the last six seconds of the quarter to regain a 62-58 lead at the half. Payton II scored nine more in the second to get to 18 points at the break.
The Lakers took a 94-83 lead into the final quarter as Scott Machado and Wear combined for 15 points in the third. South Bay shot 5-8 from three-point range in the third as they extended their lead. South Bay secured their spot in the Conference Finals behind 13 fourth quarter points from Thomas Bryant.
Sampson’s 25 points led the Bighorns and Jack Cooley tallied a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Marcus Williams finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Michael Bethea Jr. tallied 12 points and seven boards. Josh Hagins (11 points), Matt Jones (11 points) and Brandon Austin (10 points) also finished in double figures for Reno.
Payton II put it all together in the win with 30 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and six steals and Wear grabbed his own double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Bryant scored a game-high 33 points as he shot 5-9 from beyond the arc. Machado finished with 21 points, five rebounds and six assists and Andre Ingram scored nine points off the bench.
The South Bay Lakers will now travel to take on the Austin Spurs in the Western Conference Final. South Bay will look to advance to their third NBA G League Finals on Thursday, April 5 at 5:00 p.m. PT from the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park on ESPNews.