The Los Angeles Lakers grabbed their second straight win on Tuesday night with a comfortable 99-86 win over the Sacramento Kings.
It was a collective team effort that was also once again ignited by the play of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, who registered an all-around performance with a double-double with 11 assists, 11 rebounds, along with five points, five steals, and a block in the contest.
This marked the Lakers’ first double-double from a player without the use of points dating back to Lamar Odom back in 2008. It also made him put him alongside LeBron James and James Harden as the only player to post 11 assists, 11 rebound & five steals in a game this season while joining Chris Paul and John Wall to do so before his 21st birthday.
Following the game, head coach Luke Walton voiced much praise toward Ball impacting the game in more than just his scoring and passing.
“He impacted it on both ends,’ Walton said. “He creates our pace for us, he makes winning plays for us, he gets other people easy shots. Eleven assists and only one turnover is awesome.”
Ball struggled on the night with his shooting nailing just 2-of-10 shots including going 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. In fact, he didn’t make a shot until his seventh attempt of the game, which was his lone made 3-pointer. However, that didn’t appear to deter the 20-year-old in any manner as he looked for other ways help his team garner another win.
With his rebounds and assist totals into double figures early in the fourth quarter, there didn’t appear to be any personal drive to notch the triple-double that he fell just five points short of recording on Tuesday night. His focus on continued to remain on contributing positively in any way possible.
“I just go out there and play,” Ball said. “My game isn’t all scoring. Whether I score or not, I feel I can impact the game multiple ways and that’s what I did tonight.”
In first three games back from his shoulder injury, Ball is averaging 9.7 points, 7.3 assists, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.7 steals per contest. His return to the court has had a noticeable impact on the Lakers offensively with more space and pace, which is something that fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma noted following the game.
“When he is out we aren’t one of the fastest teams,” Kuzma said. “Having him back the pace is being pushed getting up the floor flying and playing space.”
Ball and the Lakers will have an opportunity to build off their momentum with a tilt against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.