Torturing Lonzo Ball might have been the Wizards’ objective on Wednesday night, but don’t go sending the game tape to the tribunal in The Hague.
When assigned to John Wall, Ball held his own, staying in front with quick hands and feet. Wall was 2-for-7 shooting when guarded by Ball, including the last miss of the Lakers’ 102-99 overtime win.
He stripped Wall on a drive in the game’s first two minutes and again in the second quarter, and he blocked Kelly Oubre inside.
Just before halftime, Ball floated one of the prettiest outlet passes of the season from 76 feet away to Larry Nance under the Lakers’ hoop for a lay-in and-1. In overtime, Ball became more aggressive with a couple of strong drives; one generated a scoop shot for himself, and another resulted in a zippy kick-out pass to Kyle Kuzma for an open 3.
Ball didn’t score his first points until midway through the third quarter, with a pretty floater in traffic. He continues to get lost in the Lakers’ weave and motion sets, feeding then clearing, and he played much of the night off the ball.
An off-the-dribble 3-pointer out of rhythm in the first minute of overtime was ill-advised, as was a step-back 3 in the half court moments later.
On a couple of occasions, he got a little cute, trying to thread the needle between two defenders in a crowded interior or carelessly lobbing entry passes.
Although Ball is never disengaged in the Lakers’ nascent offense, he is often disassociated. His defensive contributions helped keep a high-octane Wizards offense in check.