Lonzo Ball nearly passed LeBron James to become the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double when he piled up 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 132-130 win over the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Friday night.
The statistical eruption served as a nice palette cleanser for the No. 2 overall pick – who sputtered to three points, four assists and nine rebounds in his NBA debut Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 19-year-old passed with poise throughout, and dimes came in all shapes and forms, including a sweet little one-handed hook pass to a diving Kyle Kuzma in the second quarter:
There were also smooth transition bounce passes to baseline cutters:
Last but not least, Ball flashed veteran touch on the break to capitalize on a Suns turnover:
As if the deft dishes weren’t impressive enough, Ball brought an array of scoring chops to the table as he shot 12-of-27 from the field and 4-of-9 from three a night after he managed a single made field goal.
With everything working, Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd, Turner Sports’ Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie noted Ball looked at ease versus an admittedly porous Suns defense:
“Lakers still atrocious defensively but Lonzo Ball much more relaxed and effective tonight.”
– @Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd)
“Similar to summer league, Lonzo Ball is currently bouncing back from a tough opening game w/ a strong performance. That’s a telling response”
– @Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21)
“Lonzo was really, really good tonight. I don’t know how valuable playing Phoenix is as an evaluation tool, but he was terrific.”
– @Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie)
Ball’s comfort on offense was particularly evident down the stretch when he attacked the rim at will and rattled off six straight points to give the Lakers an eight-point lead with 1:35 remaining.
The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears pointed out Ball’s revised approach was likely the result of some inspiration from his father:
“LaVar Ball told his son to be more aggressive offensively and he listened tonight.”
– @Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN)
While the Lakers nearly choked things away late, a pair of missed free throws courtesy of TJ Warren with a shade over a second left in regulation allowed them to escape with their first win of the season.
The Purple and Gold will attempt to build on that momentum Sunday evening when they host Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center.
Source: Bleacher Report
Featured Image: AP Photo/File
Inset Image: Getty Images