Written by Kevin Pelton at ESPN.com
What Russell Westbrook did for the triple-double last season, Lonzo Ball is doing this summer.
No player had recorded a triple-double in the 13-year history of the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League before Ball had one last Saturday against the Boston Celtics.
On Thursday, Ball, the No. 2 overall pick of this year’s NBA draft, made it two triple-doubles in four summer games. Ball had 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 94-83 to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal round.
“Lonzo was great again,” Lakers summer league coach Jud Buechler said.
After scoring a summer-high 36 points in Wednesday’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Ball again struggled with his shot Thursday. He missed eight of his 10 3-point attempts and was 6-of-20 from the field overall. Yet Ball still had an enormous impact on the game with his playmaking. His 12 assists were as many as the Cavaliers had as a team.
Ball created quite a sensation Wednesday when, instead of wearing his own ZO2 shoes — which sell for $495 under his family’s independent fashion line, Big Baller Brand — he wore Nike Kobe A.D. sneakers. Ball kept people guessing Thursday when he jogged onto the court in a pair of James Harden’s signature Adidas shoes.
“Big Baller Brand, you’ve got freedom to do whatever you want,” Ball said on the ESPN broadcast after the game. “I’m showcasing that.”
As has been the case throughout the past week, Ball’s defensive rebounding allowed him to throw long lead passes that produced easy scores in transition for his teammates.
“It’s probably 90 percent his talent and 10 percent guys just knowing that if they get on the wings, they’re going to get easy layups,” Buechler said. “He’s just incredible at getting that ball and pushing it. We want him to set the pace for our team, set the pace for the game. Get out, run for layups, get easy baskets.”
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