LOS ANGELES – In his first game back from injury after nearly six weeks off, Lonzo Ball came off the bench and still had to wait a little bit longer before he could play.
Playing for the first time since Jan. 13, Ball looked fresh and had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists to go with two turnovers in 17 minutes as the Lakers snapped a three-game slide with a 124-102 rout of the Dallas Mavericks.
While Ball – who will not play on Saturday in the Lakers’ second of a back-to-back set at Sacramento as the team takes a cautious approach with their rookie – filled the box score like he has done often this season, teammate Julius Randle collected his fifth career triple-double with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against the Mavs. Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball says the NCAA should allow players to be paid.
Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma represent the Lakers’ future, but in the present the young trio is developing chemistry in the most 21st century way possible: by roasting each other on social media.
With Ball playing in his first game back since Jan. 13, Luke Walton brought the No. 2 overall pick off the bench for the first time.
The Staples Center crowd had not seen Ball in uniform in a home game since Jan. 11 after he sprained his left MCL in the very next game at Dallas.
Ball had spring to his step after the long layoff and his jumper didn’t show much rust.
Ball played all his minutes alongside Thomas and Walton said he saw the ball move the way he envisioned with the two point guards on the floor.