A game was on the line, and for the first time in Lonzo Ball’s professional career, he put the Lakers on his shoulders. In the span of 86 seconds Ball scored three times on drives to the rim, each move punctuated with a left-handed finish. The third such basket, gave the Lakers an eight-point lead with 1:35 remaining in an eventual 132-130 victory. The Suns called timeout, and when Ball came to the bench his coach, Luke Walton, recognized a focus in Ball he had seen many times before. “I’m not calling him Kobe,” Walton said, “but Kobe was the same way. As a teammate, I knew not even to touch Kobe in those moments because Kobe was locked in on what he’s doing. In those moments, the players who don’t let the pressure get to them, they stay calm.” Ball has often been compared to Jason Kidd (by everyone) and Magic Johnson (by Johnson), but Friday marked the first time Walton invoked the name of Kobe Bryant, his Lakers teammate from 2003-12.
Lonzo Ball’s focus in tight game reminds Lakers coach of Kobe Bryant
Orange County Register | Oct 23