They tapped each other in the chest, knowing every eye inside of Thomas & Mack Center was glued to them, yearning to see a showdown between Lakers No. 2 draft pick Brandon Ingram and Philadelphia 76ers No. 1 pick Ben Simmons.
But the showstopper Saturday night was D’Angelo Russell.
Russell stole the moment by drilling a game-winning three-pointer as time expired to lift the Lakers past the 76ers, 70-69.
He then pointed to his left shooting arm and shouted what has become his trademark scream, “Ice in my veins!”
Russell had tied the score at 67-67 on an earlier jumper, but once he made his thrilling jumper, he celebrated with his dad and brothers near the court.
“I know I can get my shot whenever I want, whether it’s a jump shot or getting to the rim,” said Russell, who finished with 22 points, five assists and six turnovers. “I just had confidence shooting the ball, and I made it.”
The numbers from Ingram and Simmons told a story of two players struggling throughout a competition that even brought out Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx to see the latest up-and-coming NBA stars in the summer league.
Ingram didn’t make his first field goal until there was 5 minutes 45 seconds left.
He missed his first eight shots, but finished the game going three for four. He had seven points on three-for-12 shooting.
Larry Nance Jr. had another strong outing.
And it was more than just his two highlight dunks. He had 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and seven steals.
Simmons was the point power forward from the 76ers who made more than his share of sweet passes.
His line read eight points on three-for-eight shooting, 10 rebounds, eight assists and seven turnovers.
“I think you’re hyped coming into this game,” Ingram said. “You try and get the jitters out and play the game. There was a lot of energy in the building today.”
At the outset of the game, the 76ers had Jerami Grant using his 6-foot-8, 210-pound body as a physical tool against the 6-9, 190-pound Ingram, oftentimes hounding the Lakers rookie all over the court.
But in the second quarter, the fans who stood and applauded while taking pictures and videos on their smartphones before the introductions got what they came to see — Ingram and Simmons defending each other.
It didn’t last long, however, as Simmons went back to defending Nance when he returned to the game.
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner