For the second time this season the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors, and once again they came up just short in overtime, falling 116-114 to the defending NBA champions.
On a special night in which the Lakers raised Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys to the rafters in Staples Center, Luke Walton’s team fought tooth and nail for a victory. One of the biggest catalysts in overtime for the Lakers was rookie point guard Lonzo Ball.
Ball scored seven of his 16 points in the extra period, even giving the Lakers a one-point lead late in the game. “It was great. It was great to see,” Walton said of Ball’s performance.
“He made a lot of plays that kept us in the game. We had a lot of different guys that stepped up tonight, but it was good to see him do it that late into the game.”
Walton also noted that it wasn’t just Lonzo looking to set up teammates, but doing everything. “Instead of just facilitating, he did an incredible job of getting himself open, hitting big shots when we needed them, flying around on defense, rebounds, things of that nature,” Walton said.
Finding that balance of facilitating of looking for his own shot has been something Ball has struggled with at times this season, but he did a good job against the Warriors. Ball finished with 16 points, six rebounds, six assists, one steal, and two blocks in another solid all-around performance.
Also of note, Ball shot 50 percent from the field and 3-point range, something that has been improving over the last few games. He even hit a midrange jumper going to his right hand, a factor that some believe would be difficult for Lonzo to do thanks to his shooting form.
“He’s definitely shooting the ball with more confidence,” Walton said. “He’s probably getting a little more comfortable with the NBA game, the speed, how teams are guarding him, the whirlwind that it’s been so far early in his career, it’s probably just getting a little more comfortable for him.
“And you mix in the hard work that he puts in, I think it’s natural that his shooting percentage has started to go up. It will do that, because he’s a good shooter.”
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