The Los Angeles Lakers may not have picked up the win Thursday on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they did show that they can be dangerous by sticking with the red-hot Cavs through much of the game.
Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball played well, notching 13 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists. The matchup was Ball’s first time meeting and playing against LeBron James, his childhood idol.
James was as ridiculously good, per usual, putting up a triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. The Cavaliers are on the short list of teams expected to make it out of the Eastern Conference come playoffs time, but with James heading into free agency, speculation is already running rampant that he may once again leave his hometown team.
Shortly after the final buzzer sounded, James and Ball were caught talking briefly, but James covered his mouth with his jersey, so no one could try to read what he was saying. James spoke to Kristen Ledlow of TNT after the game, and wouldn’t reveal exactly what he said to Ball, but did offer some praise:
“I didn’t tell him anything. I didn’t tell him anything. It’s not for everybody. There’s enough noise out there already with ‘Zo, and it’s not for me to discuss. He has a bright future, like I said the other day. They’ve got a bunch of young guys and they don’t stop running, I’ll tell you that. It’s a good win for us.”
The fact that the conversation was kept secret will, of course, pique curiosity. Ball reiterated during his postgame interview that James didn’t tell him anything.
For all we know, James could have simply been congratulating Ball on playing well and offering up some words of encouragement. But that’s not nearly as fun as imagining LeBron tipping off Ball about his free agency intentions over six months before it begins.
Should James decide to sign with the Lakers, he and Ball would form an intriguing passing duo, particularly if Ball can continue to improve his shooting. It may be a long shot and unlikely scenario, but for now, we can still envision seeing James running the floor with Ball next season.
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