Coming into Wednesday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards, much of the attention was being paid to the point guard battle between All-Star John Wall and rookie Lonzo Ball.
Marcin Gortat said that Wall would ‘torture’ Ball while Wall himself said he would show the rookie ‘no mercy.’ Ball himself never responded, but his Lakers teammates made sure he knew they had his back.
After the Lakers came away with a hard-fought 102-99 victory, Wall was complimentary of Ball, praising him for his maturity and skill level via Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
“He’s a quiet kid who doesn’t say too much. He’s been dealing with it (his dad) his whole life. It’s doesn’t bother him. It’s just new to everybody else. He’s very mature for his age. He can pass, can score the ball — he just wasn’t making shots tonight. We both wanted to play better.”
As Wall noted, both he and Ball wish they could’ve played better in the game. Each struggled mightily shooting as Ball hit just two of his 11 shots while Wall missed 15 of his 22 shots. As Luke Walton pointed out however, Ball made a positive impact as he also added eight rebounds, 10 assists, and committed just one turnover.
Despite all of the words beforehand, Wall recognizes how talented Ball is and how he impacts the game. All Ball cares about is winning and the Lakers were able to come out on top in the end.
For Ball, these types of things seem likely to continue as long as his father LaVar finds himself in front of cameras and microphones. But Ball is unfazed by the increased scrutiny and attention his father brings so as long as he continues to be fine, the Lakers will be fine.