The Lakers won in a tough match up against the Utah Jazz last night, and they did it by scoring a season-low 90 points. That is something which hasn’t been seen in a while at Staples Center, and it is a denial of all those voices saying that Lakers know only to play offensive and high-scoring basketball.
“Through the course of an 82-game season, you will have games where you have to win it defensively no matter how you are playing offensively,” LeBron James said, “and that’s what we did today.”
King James finished this event with 22 points, 10 rebounds, being shy of his 75th career triple-double.
When speaking with the reporters after the game, No.23 didn’t want to talk about his contribution, but instead, he praised Lonzo Ball.
“I think Zo, I think he just sometimes he doesn’t realize how great he is,” James said.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 24, 2018
A lot of doubts are around the second pick from the 2017 draft. Many pundits and experts are saying that Ball is overrated and that his qualities are far away below top point guards in the league. One of the best players of all times doesn’t agree on that one.
“The things that he possesses out on the floor, when Zo realizes how good he is on the floor, it makes him a very dynamic player and it makes us even better”
Against the Jazzers, Lonzo Ball picked up 10 rebounds, scored 9 points while shooting 4-of-10 from the field, and had a crucial role in restraining Utah’s offense. On the other side of the court, two above-mentioned guys made two very important baskets, after playing two-on-two. The 21-year old also had a couple of assists which helped the Lakers to post their sixth triumph in the latest seven contests.
This was one of the reasons for LeBron to defend the youngster, and to give him public support. He too was in a similar position when coming into the league, facing many doubts and suspicions from various directions.
“He missed a couple of ’em, that’s absolutely fine. He had a couple charges, that’s absolutely fine. When he’s aggressive it just changes our dynamic of the team, and he’s been doing it of late and we need him to continue to do that because he’s very good.”
What especially bothered James is the fact that nobody realizes that Ball still doesn’t have enough experience. As a young player, Lonzo needs to learn through matches, and nobody noticed that he still didn’t collect 82 of them.
“He doesn’t [even] have 82 games under his belt yet,” LeBron stated. “He hasn’t even put a full regular season into his books yet.”
In 70 games played so far. Lonzo Ball averaged 9.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists along with 1.5 steals per game. But what couldn’t be expressed with numbers is his influence on the court. Former UCLA is one of the most dynamic guards in the league. Lakers with him on the floor and without him are not the same team. James is aware of that too.
Lakers got two big buckets by having Lonzo screen for LeBron in the final 4 minutes.
• Utah sent both defenders at Bron, so he found Zo on the roll for a layup.
• Jazz then switched, and LeBron hit them with the deep step-back. pic.twitter.com/TW3Hy1ou4c
— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) November 24, 2018
“When he’s aggressive it just changes our dynamic of the team, and he’s been doing it of late and we need him to continue to do that because he’s very good.”
There is no doubt that Ball is going to keep improving. He has James beside him as a mentor, and also one of the best point guards in the past decade, Rajon Rondo. Former Boston Celtic is one of the best passers in the history of the game, and he could give guidelines to his younger teammate how to use his incredible talent for passing.
The Lakers are 11-7 at the moment, and hold the seventh spot in the Western Conference. Though, this might not look like a big deal, Luk Walton’s boys are just one game behind local rivals, the Clippers, who are No.1 in the conference.
With the way they learn, young Lakers might make a big noise this season.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.