LeBron James Comes To The Defense Of Lonzo

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks

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The Los Angeles Lakers knew what they were signing up for when they selected Lonzo Ball out of UCLA in the 2017 NBA Draft.

"In my opinion, he's the best player in the world", Ball said.

Praise from any great player to a young player is always good, especially because the best players in the league usually don't throw it around lightly. They visit LeBron James and Cleveland on Thursday, return home to host the defending champion Warriors on Monday, welcome NBA-leading Houston on December 20, and visit Golden State on December 22.

As a kid, it meant going into the backyard of his family's Chino Hills home and lowering the rim to seven feet so he could mimic James' vicious one-handed dunks.

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Ball went high to slam down a lob pass from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, nailed a 3-pointer, drove for a layup, and then fed Brook Lopez for a 3-pointer in the third, with LaVar Ball jumping up with arms waving from his sideline seat next to Lithuania-bound sons LiAngelo and LaMelo.

Ball, 20, is a rookie on the Lakers who in November passed James as the youngest player to record a triple-double.

"I wouldn't say I was surprised, I was just kind of grateful", Ball said. I just want to win. But in the fourth quarter and overtime he piled up 12 points and a number of key plays - even a steal - to help the Knicks pull the game out.

We have a feeling we know who James is referencing when he says "everybody else". He entered as the Lakers' leading scorer and averaged 19.2 points in the previous 11 games, scoring in double digits in all of them.

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Overall, there were a lot of positives for the Lakers despite losing this one. Absolutely. The kid can play ball.

Lonzo Ball was having a dazzling stretch, every basket bringing his father farther and farther off his courtside seat for an emphatic celebration.

While the rookies may have been the show, it was 22-year-old Kristaps Porzingis who had 37 points and 11 rebounds, putting together a stat line that ESPN's Ian Begley noted had never happened before in an National Basketball Association game with at least 35 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and at least five three-point field goals. "It's our responsibility as a coaching staff to give him an environment where he feels comfortable in trying to push himself, knowing we have his back". I mean that he is constantly, at all times, consumed by child-like wonder, and that this is an unusual way for adults that play in the National Basketball Association (or do anything, really) to be.

Ball's father has created countless headlines on behalf of his son, forcing Ball to answer for his father's statements at times. He probably can easily try and go for 50 every night, but he focuses on his team, tries to go for triple-doubles, gets guys involved. "Much respect to him, and all the best moving forward". Historically, this has been one of the worst starts for a rookie in 30 years.

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Ball was asked if he ever tried to mold his game after James while growing up.

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