- The Lakers beat the Wizards in overtime on Wednesday night in a game that featured a big test for rookie point guard Lonzo Ball. Ahead of the game, Lonzo’s outspoken father, LaVar Ball, had guaranteed victory for the Lakers. After the win, questions still remained about just how much the elder Ball’s nature will affect his son’s career moving forward.
The Los Angeles Lakers got their first home win of the season on Wednesday night, a 102-99 overtime victory against the Washington Wizards.
The win was a big one for the team, as tensions escalated before tip-off thanks to a back-and-forth between LaVar Ball and the Wizards. Following the Lakers’ loss earlier in the week, the elder Ball warned that the Wizards better be wary to come to Los Angeles and guaranteed a victory, saying “Lonzo ain’t losing again. Not in the same week!”
In response, Wizards center Marcin Gortat tweeted that his teammate John Wall would “torture” Ball for 48 minutes.
The build-up made for an intense matchup for an early-season, Wednesday night game. While Wall outplayed Ball in terms of numbers, Ball did enough to help his team to victory including guarding Wall close on a few key defensive possessions in the game. Wall went 2-for-7 while marked by the Lakers rookie.
After the game, Lakers coach Luke Walton said that Gortat’s comments had helped motivate the team to play together.
“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,” Walton said.
Ball’s father has been a prominent piece in his son’s young NBA career thus far, with some believing that his continued braggadocio and tendency to make bold predictions will only make Lonzo a target for opposing players. Early on, that appeared to be the case, with Patrick Beverley acting as a constant and physical nuisance in Ball’s first game as a pro.
But to others, the elder Ball’s actions have little relation to his son’s performance on the court. As Wall said of his opponent after the game, “He’s a quiet kid who doesn’t say too much. 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.”
For his part, LaVar simply seemed pleased his prediction came to fruition after the game. “I told you so,” Ball told ESPN. “I’ve seen this story before.”