Following a disappointing debut in the Lakers’ season opener this week, rookie Lonzo Ball bounced back and put up big numbers in his second career game.
He almost notched a triple-double, finishing the game one assist shy of becoming the youngest player in NBA history to post a triple-double. The 19-year-old put up 29 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists to help the Lakers defeat the Phoenix Suns 132-130 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
“I think Lonzo’s getting a bad [rap] for getting destroyed his first game,” head coach Luke Walton said before the game. “Personally, I thought he could have had a double-double with rebounds and assists [but] we didn’t make any shots. … I thought he was fine last night. It’s a good learning experience for everybody.”
During Friday night’s (Oct. 20) game, Ball displayed the passing ability we saw during the Las Vegas Summer League, as well as some long-range shooting by knocking down four three-pointers.
According to ESPN, Ball is the first teenager since LeBron James to have 29 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists. His 29 points are the most by a Laker in his first or second game of his career since at least 1963.
In his official debut on Thursday night (Oct. 19), during which the Lakers lost to the Clippers 108-92, Ball had just 3 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
During the Clippers game, opposing guard Patrick Beverley hounded the rookie throughout. After the game, he said he was simply “welcoming him to the NBA”.