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‘His worst game ever’: Lonzo Ball underwhelms in Summer League debut

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The No2 overall pick finishes with five points on 2-for-15 shooting in his NBA Summer League debut with the Los Angeles Lakers

It took Lonzo Ball 20 seconds to get a near-capacity mob off its feet in his first summertime league game.

Just like LaVar taught him.

Balls highly foresaw Los Angeles Lakers debut on Friday night started with a prosper on a perfectly day lob pass to Brandon Ingram. But that was one of the few bright places for a player Magic Johnson has dubbed as the new face of the Lakers in a 96 -9 3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The No2 overall picking scored only five points and missed 13 of his 15 shootings, to the disappointment of a near-capacity mob that came out to see him. Leave it to his father to sum up the night with some of his trademark straight talk.

He dont be discouraged because thats the worst he can do, LaVar Ball said. He cant run but up. And he still kept them in video games playing his worst game ever. Thats what I like about it.

Lonzo Ball was 1-for-11 from three-point scope, including a bad miss from well beyond the line the various kinds of daring pull-up the Ball family is known for with 1:16 to play in regulation.

He was also a little slow to react on defense, including when Brice Johnson made a quick spin past him for a dunk. The Clippers posted the highlight on their Twitter account, calling it a fairly baller move.

Thats the kind of target that LaVars antics have painted on his sons back. And its much bigger than the purple No2 under his name.

Tough game. We didnt get the job done, Lonzo Ball said. I need to be better.

Lonzo Ball managed a scant five points on 2-for-15 shooting in his NBA Summer League debut.

Scouts do wonder how that unorthodox shooting stroke will translate to the NBA game. What is not up for debate is the Lakers return to must-see status with the pass-first point guard on the trigger and his carnival barker father on the mic.

While LaVar Ball has fallen clues that he could tone down the bombastic comments and unending marketing of his Big Baller Brand apparel that turned him into an internet scoundrel of sorts during Lonzos lone season at UCLA, he was totally in character for his sons debut.

The Lakers fans are coming and my son is gonna bring em out, LaVar Ball crowed at halftime. Because theres exhilaration for the game. Its amusement. That son is going to entertain. Hes been doing it all his life.

LaVar Ball entered the Thomas& Mack Center to a raucous ovation, flanked by more than a dozen family members. They watched the game from a raised stage behind one baseline, and as he ascended the stairs for the first time, he raised his hands and pumped his fist to the crowd.

Lonzo Ball get off the bus wearing a black Big Baller t-shirt, red shorts and black Big Baller ZO2 shoes yes, the ones with the $495 price tag and did two television interviews before he even changed into his Laker uniform. A bedazzled, patent leather knapsack draped over his shoulders and established NBA players including DeMar DeRozan, DAngelo Russell and Isaiah Thomas were all in attendance for video games, while Johnson, the new Lakers president of basketball operations, sat courtside.

Lakers games have always been well-attended here in Vegas, merely a four-hour drive from Los Angeles. But this one reached another level, with fans piling into the arena three hours before game hour and sitting through a Bucks-Cavaliers game before eventually getting to the main attraction. And when Lonzo procured Ingram for the alley-oop on his first possession, it looked like things were going to come easy.

I always said get em out their chairs on the first play, LaVar Ball said. Thats how we used to play with his brothers. Either hit a long three-pointer from halfcourt or a dunk.

But it became clear very quickly that things wouldnt always go smoothly. The sophomore Ingram shined with 26 points in 31 minutes, playing with more assertiveness than his celebrated rookie teammate. Lonzo finished with five assistances, four rebounds and two steals.

Its got nothing to do with him, LaVar Ball said. Hes going to make this team come up and stimulate everybody start passing the ball. And thats when that chemistry comes in and thats when that winning be coming back. Thats when the win comes in. Once “youre starting” winning, everybody starts feeling good.

In that style, LaVar is right on the money.

Lonzos clothes are flashy, and the first play was quite a highlight. But the rest of his game was decidedly understated, much like his personality. Magic may have dubbed him the new face of the NBAs marquee franchise and his father says the rookie is on the Lakers because he spoke it into existence. But there is nothing look-at-me about him.

He speaks quietly and with a straight face , nothing like the mega-watt smile Johnson brought to Hollywood from Michigan State. Surrounded by cameras after video games, he couldnt wait to move on.

The only way to go now is up, Lonzo said. Thatll likely be the worst game Ill have all week so hopefully I keep getting better.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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