While the Los Angeles Lakers have already played games this season without Brandon Ingram, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo, Thursday’s matchup with the Sacramento Kings presented a different challenge.
In addition to the aforementioned trio being unavailable, LeBron James also did not play as he recovers from what’s now been described as a ‘significant’ strained left groin. As expected, more fell on the plates of Lonzo Ball and Ingram.
They, along with Kyle Kuzma, nearly carried the Lakers to a thrilling win against the Kings. Turnovers, poor possessions down the stretch and Ingram splitting free throws led to a loss on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Adding frustration to the defeat was Ball being unable to finish the game out. After going coast to coast for a layup that put the Lakers ahead by three points with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, he experienced cramping in his left calf for a second time on the night.
Ball was replaced during the timeout and never re-entered. Following the game, he explained the issue was just cramps and voiced confidence he would play Friday, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Just a cramp in my calf. That’s all it was. … Summer League was probably the last time and only time (cramp forced him out of a game). It doesn’t really happen too often. … I should be ready to play [Friday].”
Ball appeared to have a second triple-double this season before his night came to an end, with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. However, a rebound was taken away from him and awarded to Tyson Chandler after the game went final.
So Ball instead settled for a stat-stuffing night that didn’t meet the criteria for a triple-double but featured a season high in assists.
The calf cramps is a fourth time Ball has dealt with a minor issue this season. He previous sprained an ankle during practice that he aggravated in a November win against the Kings, and rolled a second time just over two weeks later.
Ball has yet to miss a game due to injury this season.
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