LAS VEGAS — For Zhaire Smith, it was a just a matter of learning from what he did in the first game.
The 76ers shooting guard knew that he had to be more active without the ball and take advantage of his athleticism. And that's what he did Saturday night in a 96-79 NBA Summer League loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Smith was one of the Sixers' few bright spots on a night when they shot a horrid 38.3 percent from the field and made just 3 of 29 three-pointers (10.3 percent).
The rookie out of Texas Tech finished with a team-high 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting. His highlight was an alley-oop dunk on an out-of-bounds play. He sprinted hard to the center of the paint, leaped in the air and caught the pass with one hand. He finished the play with a thunderous dunk that drew huge applause.
"I didn't know it was going to turn out like that," Smith said. "I thought I just was going to get it and put it up. It turned out pretty good."
This was part of a mostly solid all-around game. He had two rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and three turnovers in 24 minutes, 48 seconds.
This was an improvement from Friday night's 95-89 setback to the Boston Celtics. During long stretches in that game, he was landlocked behind the three-point line in the corner. In addition to not moving without the ball, Smith looked indecisive in a half-court setting. He finished with seven points on 3-for-7 shooting.
After watching game film, Smith realized that he couldn't just stand in the corner. He also played more relaxed in the second game.
"I talked to coach [Brett] Brown. He said I played like a C the other game. Try to get to a B," Smith said. "I did good the last game. He said, 'Just do better. Just be relaxed and [be] yourself. This is summer league. You are going to get better, and you are going to learn.'"
While he showed improvement, Furkan Korkmaz regressed.
The swingman finished with four points on 1-for-9 shooting. He missed all seven of his three-point attempts. This came one night after he scored 40 points while making 8 of 14 three-pointers.
"In the game, I wasn't feeling good," Korkmaz said of being out of rhythm. "I wasn't feeling in shape. It was back-to-back games. Everybody was focused. But sometimes you are just making shots, sometimes you are missing.
"Today was probably one of my worst games."
Cameron Oliver (12 points) and Demetrius Jackson (10) joined Smith as the Sixers' double-digit scorers.