The Los Angeles Lakers hit the road and snapped a frustrating five-game losing streak by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. It was an exciting game filled with great performances by some of the NBA’s bright young stars, and the always-vocal Philadelphia crowd was in form cheering on their team and booing the Lakers, with rookie guard Lonzo Ball drawing the most venom.
During the pre-draft process, Ball refused to visit the 76ers, who had the third overall pick and then the first pick when they executed a trade with the Boston Celtics to move up. He opted to only work out for his hometown Lakers, which didn’t sit well with the fans of other franchises that wanted their teams to get a look at him.
After the game, Ball explained that he didn’t mind the boos at all, as seen on Spectrum SportsNet:
“I knew it was going to be like that. Right when they called my name, they were ready to go. It’s always fun to play like that, though. It was crazy. Like I said, when they called our names, they were going after us.”
Despite the energized crowd, Ball had an excellent all-around performance, putting up a stat line of 10 points, eight assists, eight rebounds, three steals, and four blocks. With the clock winding down and the game tied at 104 points, Ball calmly drew the defense and kicked out to Brandon Ingram, who splashed home a three to get the win for Los Angeles.
Ball’s ability to play well in front of a hostile crowd reminds somewhat of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who relished silencing noisy arenas on the road by making big plays. Bryant too was on the receiving end of vitriol from 76ers fans, despite hailing from Philadelphia.
While Ball is not Bryant, his calm, seemingly unbreakable demeanor serves him well, and will hopefully continue to be an asset as the road trip rolls on.
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