NBA Summer League: Lonzo Ball's injury scare puts damper on another superb game
Another brilliant Lonzo Ball performance turned scary for the Lakers when the potential franchise point guard left the game in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 108-98 summer league semifinal win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
The Lakers advance to play the Trail Blazers in the championship game on Monday, but they could be without Ball.
Here are some takeaways from Ball’s performance in Sunday’s game.
Scary moment for Lakers
The last thing you want to see during the summer league is your potential franchise point guard limping off the court and heading to the locker room. After a brilliant first half (14 points, 10 assists, no turnovers), Ball left the game early in the third quarter with tightness in his right calf.
Ball returned to the bench, but with the Lakers holding a considerable lead the coaching staff elected to keep Ball out for the rest of the game. The Lakers shut down Brandon Ingram after he experienced cramps in the team’s first game in Vegas, so it will be interesting to see if they let Ball play in the championship game on Monday night. It would be Ball’s fourth game in five nights after missing last Monday’s matchup with the Kings with a groin injury.
Hot from the start
Lonzo hit a pretty heavily contested 3-pointer off a dribble hand-off to open the game, and it was a sign of things to come.
Lonzo and the entire Lakers team were simply on fire, shooting 23 of 33 (70 percent) from the field and 10 of 13 on 3-pointers (77 percent), while building a 62-40 halftime lead. Ball was nearly flawless in all aspects offensively, scoring 14 points, dishing out 10 assists without committing a turnover in the first half. The highlight was this punch-pass (which may or may not be legal) to Alex Caruso.
The Lakers were sure to cool down regardless, but Lonzo’s absence from the start of the third quarter showed just how valuable he has been to this team. With Ball out, the Lakers saw a 26-point lead whittled down to just one, but eventually held on for the win.
Bidding war for Lonzo’s feet?
Lonzo’s choice of footwear has become almost as intriguing as his game during the summer league.
Before Sunday’s game he announced that he would be wearing the Jordan 31s, but it was another one of his comments that has people talking. When ESPN reporter Cassidy Hubbarth asked Lonzo if he was trying to create a bidding war between apparel companies, he replied, “Something like that.”
Lonzo wore his custom Big Baller Brand ZO2s for the first two games before wearing Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and the Jordans in his next four games, respectively. His father LaVar has said Lonzo might be willing to switch from the Big Baller Brand to another company “if the price is right.” The NBA world awaits with bated breath …
The real deal
If this was Lonzo’s final game of the summer, he’s certainly proven that he has the potential to be the franchise point guard the Lakers expect him to be. Despite a lackluster first game, Ball has averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds in his four outings. It’s just summer league, but he’s at least proven that the tools are there — now we’ll have to see if it can translate to real NBA games.