Los Angeles Lakers come to Lonzo Ball's aid in win vs. Washington Wizards
NBA.com staff reports
Washington Wizards superstar guard John Wall promised to show Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball “no mercy” in their first matchup together. And while Wall did get the better in the box score department last night, it was Ball and the Lakers who emerged with the victory.
* Recap: Lakers 102, Wizards 99 (OT)
The overtime win was not only the Lakers’ first home win of the season, but one in which the rest of Ball’s teammates showed the type of unity usually reserved for a more veteran team. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com has more on the Lakers’ win and the Ball vs. Wall matchup:
A “more locked in” Lakers rallied around Ball and handed the Wizards their first loss of the season with an inspired 102-99 overtime victory at Staples Center.
“Our guys were more locked in tonight,” Walton said after the Lakers (2-2) earned their biggest win of the young season. “It shouldn’t be anything to do with [what Marcin Gortat and Wall said about Ball]. [But] I did [tell them] it is nothing personal but we defend each other. If people want to talk about our players, we should be offended and we should go into that game and telling ourselves that is not all right and we are not going to stand for that and we are not just going to [lay down] and let that happen.”
Wall admitted that he was motivated by LaVar Ball’s guarantee after the Lakers’ loss to New Orleans on Sunday that his son was not going to lose again this week and by Gortat responding to that by saying that Wall would “torture” the rookie. He finished with 18 points, nine assists and one steal in the loss.
“I told you so,” LaVar Ball told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman after the Lakers’ win. “I’ve seen this story before.”
During some of the times when Ball was on Wall, the No. 2 overall pick held his own most of the time by staying in front of Wall and harassing him into 2-for-7 shooting when he was on the Wizards’ star.
In the fourth quarter and overtime, Wall missed 9 of his final 10 shots, including misfiring a potential game-tying, double-clutch 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer with Ball hanging on his hip. Wall was held to two points after the third quarter with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drawing the responsibility of guarding Wall most of the time.
“I thought tonight was our best defensive night all year,” Ball said. “… It started at practice, everyone bought into it, we were ready for this game. You could see it on the court, the way we were guarding tonight, we were all playing for one another.”
After the game, a diplomatic Wall praised the rookie for handling all the attention and admitted that LaVar Ball’s outspoken act is something new for opposing players to deal with.
“He’s a quiet kid who doesn’t say too much,” Wall told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. “He’s been dealing with it [his father’s outspoken comments] his whole life. It doesn’t bother him. It’s just new to everybody else. He’s very mature for his age.
“He can pass, can score the ball — he just wasn’t making shots tonight. We both wanted to play better.”
The rookie knows he has a target on his back, mostly from his father’s comments, but he’s used to dealing with what comes with it.
“Coming in, I already knew everybody was going to come at me like that,” Ball told ESPN’s Ryan Ruocco in a pregame interview. “So I don’t really pay it any mind. I’m not going to get into any Twitter war. I’m going to go out there and help my team.”
“I’m not saying anything, and I’m not retaliating,” added Ball, who has 32 assists in his past three games. “It doesn’t affect me in any type of way, I don’t think. I just go out there and play. It’s the NBA, so guys should want to come at me every night. I have no problem with it. So I just go out there, like I said, and play.”
not like this not like this pic.twitter.com/idrJwfojPa
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) October 26, 2017
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