- 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 had all but guaranteed victory for the Lakers.
- After the win, questions still remain about just how much LaVar’s nature will affect Lonzo’s career moving forward.
The Los Angeles Lakers got their first home win of the season on Wednesday night with a 102-99 overtime victory against the Washington Wizards.
The win was a big one for the team, having had expectations set before tip-off by LaVar Ball and an escalation of tension with the Wizards response. Following the Lakers’ loss earlier in the week, the elder Ball warned that the Wizards better be wary to come to Los Angeles and all but 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 few key defensive possessions in the game, with Wall going just 2-for-7 while marked by the Lakers rookie.
After the game, Lakers coach Luke Walton said that Gortat’s comments before the game had helped to 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.”
Ball’s outspoken father has been a prominent aspect of his 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. From the start of the season, it appeared that might be the case, with Patrick Beverley acting as a constant and physical nuisance in Ball’s first game as a pro.
But to others, LaVar’s tendencies have little relation to Lonzo’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.”
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