Ball to start at point for Lakers, even with Rondo returning

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Even though Rajon Rondo will return from his three-game suspension and rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers for their game tonight at San Antonio, Lonzo Ball will remain the team's starting point guard.

Lakers coach Luke Walton has opted to keep Ball with the team's first group, having won back-to-back games and going 2-1 in Rondo's absence, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

LeBron James of the Lakers was effusive in his praise of Ball's play after the Los Angeles handed the Denver Nuggets their first loss of the season after four wins Thursday night at Staples Center.

“He’s got some of the quickest hands that this league has, and a lot of people try to discredit him offensively but they don’t give him enough credit defensively," James told reporters while speaking of Ball after the conquest of Denver.

James also took notice of how being in attack mode makes Ball a different player. In the last two games, Ball has made 10 of 19 field-goal attempts (52.6 percent), including 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from deep in the Lakers' victories at Phoenix and against Denver.

“When he’s aggressive offensively, it just opens up everything for this ballclub," James said after the Denver win.

As a starter with Rondo suspended for his actions during a conflict with Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets during a game last week at Staples Center, Ball is averaging 12.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.7 steals a game, shooting 53.6 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep.

Conversely, Rondo, signed to a one-year, $a9 million pact last summer, averaged 13 points, 5.5 boards, 10.5 dimes and 1.5 steals in the Lakers' first two games -- losses to Portland and the aforementioned clash with Houston -- shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from the 3-point line.