Lonzo Ball stays in Lakers’ starting lineup as Rajon Rondo returns from suspension

first_img“We missed having him around,” Walton said. “I stayed in constant contact with him. Him and Brandon were getting together, watching games together. So there was still chemistry being built and bonding happening, but we missed having his voice around for sure.”HONORING THE FALLENWalton opened his pregame press conference Saturday night with a message to the victims of a shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue, where at least 11 died after a gunman opened fire.“Real quick just before we start let’s take a moment to give our thoughts and our prayers and our love to those out in Pittsburgh,” he said. “That is terrible and I can’t imagine what those people are going through. Sending our respect and our love to them feels right, for what it’s worth.”One of the Lakers had his own tribute to another victim of a shooting: On his shoes, Kyle Kuzma wrote “RIP Lauren McCluskey.” McCluskey was a 21-year-old track athlete at the University of Utah, where Kuzma played college basketball, who was recently shot and killed by an ex-boyfriend.Related Articles AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“It’s good to see right now, but we need to continue it at this pace,” he said. “So I’m not gonna sit here and tell you he’s a 40-percent 3-point shooter right now. Hopefully, he is, and he keeps putting in that work and that’s the player that he becomes.”Walton said he thought Ball brought value with his defense, particularly in a recent game against the Denver Nuggets when he got five steals and guarded a positional array from point guard Jamal Murray to center Nikola Jokic.It also helped that Ball developed some chemistry with LeBron James, who complimented his defense and poise after the win on Thursday night.“They’ve been playing well together,” Walton said. “I think part of how Lonzo plays, where he just, he loves just throwing it to the first open person and obviously LeBron being somebody considered as a point forward or however you want to call it, where he can run the team from the forward spot, it is a nice flow between the two of them.”Rondo traveled with the team during his suspension but was not allowed in the arena for games. Instead, he watched the Lakers alongside Brandon Ingram, who was still serving one more game of his suspension on Saturday for his role in a fight between the Lakers and Houston Rockets last week. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers SAN ANTONIO — Happy birthday, Lonzo Ball: You’re a starter.The Lakers gave Ball the nod for the fourth consecutive game on Saturday night, but this one was different: It marked the return of Rajon Rondo from suspension. While Rondo began the season in the starting lineup, Ball took over during his three-game absence and apparently was good enough in the eyes of the coaching staff to keep the role.The decision was in part a reflection of how good Ball was as a starter: The second-year guard averaged 12.7 points, 6.7 assists and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range in the three games, during which the Lakers were 2-1. He also played more minutes, giving the coaching staff more confidence that he’s fully healed from his offseason knee surgery.And so it came to be that on Ball’s 21st birthday, he was given an indefinite extension as a starter and Rondo came off the bench. Coach Luke Walton stressed that the Lakers hope he continues to develop at the rate he’s shown at the beginning of the season. Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs last_img

Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *