After a mostly disappointing debut for Lonzo Ball the previous night, the doubters came out in full force on social media. Yet, Ball paid no attention and bounced back in a big way versus rival Boston. In front of the sold out crowd in Vegas of almost 18,000 fans, this game lived up to the hype. Number two overall pick versus number three in this year's draft. Ball v.s Jayson Tatum. Surprisingly, this game also provided us with an unlikely Laker who is well on his way to making the roster as a key role player.
The Lakers came out with a fast pace offense led by Lonzo Ball and took a quick 11-0 lead. As the night continued this game went back and forth and saw the Lakers take a 38-34 lead into the locker room. Boston quickly took control of the game in the second half, but the Lakers fought their way back and tied the game at 72 all, after trailing as many as nine points. From that point on Jayson Tatum and the Celtics took control and wound up winning this round of the rivalry, 86-81. Though this game had no significant value in terms of standings, but bragging rights are always nice. Next time, Lakers.
Ball made his first three-point-shot of the night to quickly bounce back from his 2-of-15 shooting the night before. One strength I've seen from Ball in the past two games is his ability to push the ball up-court before defenses can get back and set up their defensive set. His vision down the court is really something special and is something I look forward to watching all season long. Ball's playmaking ability will get even better as the season continues as his teammates will build more chemistry with him. Every player on the Lakers roster will be on the lookout for Ball's on the money passes. He finished the game with his first ever triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds.
The biggest weakness I believe Ball needs to improve on is his defense. Working on his lateral quickness and staying lower to ground will improve his chances of keeping guards in front of him. It's been clear he struggles with ball-screens, but shouldn't be anything to worry about. The coaching staff will resolve that issue in scrimmages and practices.
To continue, we saw first round selection, Kyle Kuzma, break out. He finished the night with 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists. Overall from the floor, he shot 12-of-26, and 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Kuzma will be a legitimate player coming off the bench this season for the Lakers, who will stretch the floor very nicely. Not only was he contributing on the offensive end, but he was very active all night long playing defense. This is something the Lakers will love to see more of as he develops. Keep an eye out for this kid. Big things are on his horizon.
Other Lakers who had good nights were second-year guard David Nwaba, and Villanova star, Josh Hart. Nwaba, aka Mr. Dunk, finished the night with 13 points, and 9 rebounds. He had some thunderous dunks and ended the night shooting 6-of-9. As for Hart, he added 15 points and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Both of these guys should be solid role players and can definitely step in if injuries occur throughout the season.
As for the Celtics, Jayson Tatum and Sam Ojeleye had great performances in sin city. Tatum, believed to be the most polished scorer in this year's draft, finished the night with 27 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 9-of-19 overall. As for Ojeleye, who played for SMU last season, he scored 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the floor. Jaylen Brown, who just a few months ago was guarding LeBron James in the Eastern Conference finals, put up 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Celtics will get back to action on Sunday versus the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers (0-2) during summer league play will next play on Monday night versus the Sacramento Kings. The much-anticipated match-up between Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox will be fun to watch. Round one between the two stars from UCLA and Kentucky.