Ball shows scoring improvement, but Lakers fall to Tatum, Celtics
Following his subpar Las Vegas NBA Summer League debut Friday, Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball said there was nowhere to go but up.
He said that performance — 2 for 15 shooting — would probably be his worst game of the week.
In his second Summer League game, Ball went up. He finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and four turnovers in 34 minutes in the Lakers’ 86-81 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday.
Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka again watched from courtside seats, not far from boxer Floyd Mayweather who showed up to watch Ball play for the second consecutive night.
It was a rare Summer League sellout as fans — another significant Lakers contingent — packed Thomas & Mack Center’s lower bowl to watch Ball and Celtics forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Tatum, the No. 3 pick in the 2017 draft, continued his strong Summer League play with 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye, the No. 37 pick in the second round of the 2017 draft, had 18 points.
Once again wearing his Big Baller Brand basketball shoes — this time a pair of black low tops — Ball showed glimpses of the player he can become: a gifted passer, solid rebounder and potentially capable scorer.
It’s obvious he needs to become a better shooter. Right now, teams are going under screens and letting him shoot three-pointers. But he’s not the first rookie to struggle with the NBA three. Jason Kidd struggled as a trey shooter before turning into a reliable long-ball shooter.
The Lakers didn’t draft Ball for his scoring, at least not right away. They wanted his court vision, presence, savvy and willingness to get the ball up the court quickly, and that was on display.
But just as there was no reason to overreact to his performance, there is no reason to overreact the opposite way Saturday. He’s a 19-yearold finding his way in the NBA.