Thursday night did not go as planned for Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers. After a strong Summer League showing, Ball played in just two preseason contests, setting the stage for a highly anticipated regular-season debut.
Unfortunately for him, Ball was matched up with the Los Angeles Clippers and Patrick Beverley. The feisty point guard was eager to prove himself in his first game wearing a Clippers uniform, as he hounded Ball all night. Ball struggled against the 2017 All-NBA Defensive First Team player, posting just three points on 1-6 shooting.
With Thursday’s wound still fresh, Ball was eager to prove himself last night against the young Phenoix Suns.
The rookie point guard out of UCLA had an up and down first half, finishing with nine points as his team trailed by three at halftime. In the third quarter, he came alive. With 8:32 left in the third quarter, Ball tipped in a layup on an offensive rebound to give his team an 80-79 lead. Two minutes later he hit an impressive step-back 26-foot three-pointer to put his team up 85-83.
With the Lakers leading 99-92 later in the frame, Ball ran up the court and promptly took a running three-pointer from 27-feet out. It was the kind of shot Lavar Ball loves: flashy, cocky, unafraid. The ball went through the net to give Lonzo ten points for the quarter and give the Lakers a ten-point lead.
Ball was exceptional in the closing quarter, adding eight points including a layup with 1:35 left to give the Lakers a 130-122 lead, all but sealing the victory. It was a night of firsts for Lonzo. The rookie garnered his first double-digit scoring effort as he dropped 29 points, and his first double-double with 11 rebounds on the night. He was just one assist away from a triple-double as he willed his team to a 132-130 victory.
The future looks bright in Los Angeles, with Ball and second-year talent Brandon Ingram leading the way. Ingram finished with 25 points on 9-14 shooting and he and Ball seemed to play better together as the game went on. The season is still young but Lonzo has already shown why there is so much buzz around Lakers games this season.
With 80 games left in the regular season, the league is in for a treat. It’s Showtime part two in Los Angeles, with Lonzo Ball leading the way.
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