There was a time when Lonzo Ball was crucified for a jump shot that at-best was deemed questionable. On Saturday night, at the end of a four-game road trip, it was the difference between a win and a loss for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ball finished with 18 points (all on 3-pointers) including two in the final minutes as the Lakers came back from 17 points down to beat the San Antonio Spurs, 116-112.
Ball also added 11 assists, seven rebounds, and two blocks as the Lakers continued their excellent play since the awful nine-game losing streak in December and January.
The win was the Lakers’ fifth straight and the most unlikely of the bunch as Brandon Ingram sat out with a strained hip flexor. The win also means the Lakers went 4-0 on their road trip, their first time winning as many games on a trip since going 6-0 during the 2008-09 season.
Julius Randle once again led the way as he finished with 25 points and six rebounds. Isaiah Thomas had another strong contest with 21 points and seven assists, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his second straight double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lakers trailed by as many as 17 points on the night and were down 13 points in the fourth before making a run to close the deficit. A pair of Randle free throws gave the Lakers their first lead with less than two minutes remaining.
That was followed by back-to-back Ball triples to put L.A. in the driver’s seat. Thomas would hit a pair of free throws with under five seconds left to ice the game.
With Ingram sitting, the Lakers were forced to turn to Tyler Ennis and the newly-signed Travis Wear for big minutes. Wear in particular came through with seven points, including a couple of jumpers in the fourth as he got crunch time minutes.
The Spurs were led by former Laker Pau Gasol who posted a near triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebound, and eight assists. Rudy Gay added 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
The Lakers will look to continue their winning streak back at the Staples Center on Monday as they host the Portland Trail Blazers.
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