The Los Angeles Lakers first game of the season did not go as planned, as rookie Lonzo Ball struggled and they were blown out by the Clippers on their home floor.
Luckily for Ball and the Lakers though, they had another game Friday night so Ball had a chance at redemption. The result was a good one, as he nearly had a triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, leading the Lakers to a 132-130 victory on the road against the Phoenix Suns.
After the game, Ball commented on what he was focused on after Thursday night’s loss, and he said that he just wanted to bounce back, via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Lonzo said he expected and didn’t worry about any reaction to last night’s tough game. Confidence didn’t wane. Was ready to bounce back.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 21, 2017
Ball’s 29 points are the most by a Laker in the first or second game of their career since at least 1963. Magic Johnson scored 26 in his debut. Additionally, Ball is the first teenager since LeBron James with at least 29 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists in a single game.
It’s safe to say that the Lakers No. 2 overall pick belongs in the NBA after that performance, as he not only showed his gifted passing ability but also that he can get to the rim and score when he needs to.
Just like Ball was not panicking after his lackluster performance Thursday night, he likely won’t get too high after this performance as it is an 82-game season and every rookie goes through their ups and downs throughout the course of it.
If Ball and Brandon Ingram continue to build off Friday night’s performance though, then Laker fans can be very optimistic about what is to come in the future with this young team.