It looks like 15 games away to heal a sprained knee worked wonders for Lonzo Ball. The Los Angeles Lakers rookie has made a strong return to the lineup after nearly six weeks on the shelf, scoring 22 points on 12 shots with 14 rebounds, 11 assists and just four turnovers in 41 minutes off the L.A. bench over two appearances, with the Lakers cruising to a pair of wins over the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks that helped them equal last year’s win total with 22 games still remaining on the schedule.
After a brutal start to his career, Ball began making slow and steady gains with his shot, shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from deep after the start of December before suffering the sprain. The hot shooting in his first two games back — 7-for-12 from the field, 6-for-9 from 3-point range, stepping without hesitation into the looks he’s given — represents a nice continuation of that progress, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Lonzo Ball actually can shoot.
(NOTE: Some NSFW language in the clip below.)
It’d be hard to blame Lonzo if whatever extra confidence he’s been playing with lately might be just a bit shaken by losing a shooting contest to Shad Moss — a.k.a. Bow Wow, a.k.a. No. 3 on the call sheet for “CSI: Cyber,” a.k.a. Ol’ Like Mike — while your man wasn’t even wearing shoes. It’d be especially hard to blame him for feeling some type of way about it after Mr. Wow threw the whole thing up on social media, soundtracked by one of his own songs, so that the world knew that he’d bested an NBA player in a game of basketball skill.
The psyche is a fragile thing; we can only hope that this doesn’t send Lonzo into a tailspin of missed jumpers and bricked top-five lists. (Actually, for his sake, I mostly hope that it doesn’t result in a frantic phone call from Dad.) Look on the bright side, Lonzo: getting surprisingly upended by a celebrity in a shooting contest might actually be the best thing that ever happened to you. KeviN Hart got over on Draymond Green and Kyle Lowry, and they’re still do-everything All-Stars whose teams have their sights set on a championship. Do not allow yourself to be incinerated by this brutal own; instead, allow it to temper you and forge you into a sharper, stronger weapon. (And also, maybe make sure nobody’s filming next time you line ’em up with a former So So Def recording artist.)
Hat-tip to Tom Ley of Deadspin.
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