Lonzo Ball Puts Debut Downer In Rearview With Triple Double
- Less than 24 hours after LaVar deemed his son's Lakers debut the worst game of his career, Lonzo Ball posted a triple-double in front of a sellout Las Vegas crowd.
LAS VEGAS – Lonzo Ball showed progress in his second Summer League game on Saturday, registering the event’s first triple-double in at least seven years while drawing oohs and aahs from a record crowd with his dazzling touch passes.
But his 11-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist effort in the Lakers’ 86-81 loss to the Celtics left his outspoken father LaVar Ball unimpressed.
“There’s always going to be progress on each game, he’s going to keep going up,” LaVar told SI.com. “You [media] guys will look at it now, and say, ‘Wow, he had a triple-double.’ That don’t mean nothing to me. You’ve got to win. It don’t mean nothin’. Wins only matter. Point guards ain’t judged on stats, they’re judged on victory.”
The Lakers, who were without 2016 No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram, fell to 0-2 in Las Vegas. As a precaution, Ingram was shut down for the rest of the event after sustaining cramps in a Friday loss to the Clippers, leaving Ball as the roster’s lone headliner. According to the NBA, no player has registered a triple-double at Las Vegas Summer League since at least 2010.
“I definitely felt better, better game,” Ball said. “But we didn’t get the win so that’s all I really care about.”
Although he looked more settled on Saturday than he did one day earlier, Ball struggled from the field again, shooting just 5-13 overall and 1-5 on threes. Through two games, he’s 2-16 (13%) from downtown after shooting 41% from deep as a freshman at UCLA.
“The biggest challenge is my shot, my shot’s not going in,” he said. “My shot is off. Everybody knows I’m going to keep shooting. My confidence is there I’ve just got to hit them. … All [my] teammates are great. They keep telling me keep shooting, keep my head up, keep leading.”
Ball’s shot might have been off, but his vision was definitely on. His highlight-reel fare against the Celtics included a beautiful touch pass in transition to Josh Hart, a cheeky shuffle pass to Ivica Zubac for a lay-up, a well-timed dump-off to Kyle Kuzma, and a clever lead pass from the angle to a cutting David Nwaba.
“Having him pass like that is contagious,” said Kuzma, who led the Lakers with a game-high 31 points.
Saturday’s slate of games set an all-time event record by drawing 17,500 fans. NBA officials said they stopped selling tickets on Friday night, marking the first early sell-out in the event’s history.
While drastically outnumbered by Lakers fans, the Celtics diehards in attendance were treated to a strong night from 2017 No. 3 pick Jayson Tatum, who posted a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds in the win.