Coach

Lonzo Ball Debut Ruined by Clippers Routing Lakers

Both the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers featured new-look teams, but the younger Lakers often looked lost

On a night when the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their first World Series berth in nearly 30 years, the LA Clippers beat up on the Los Angeles Lakers 108-92 at Staples Center, though that final score flattered the level of competition on display in downtown LA.

At one point, the Clippers led by 30 points. Both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan watched the conclusion from the bench. Jordan dominated the glass to the tune of 24 rebounds to go along with 14 points, while Griffin scored a game-high 29 points to go along with 12 rebounds in the win.

LA Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball made his regular season debut, and the rookie only managed to score three points on the night, making one of his six field goal attempts on the night. The rookie acknowledged that he should probably have been more aggressive in looking for his shot, but the 19-year-old still managed to pull down nine rebounds and tallied four assists in his 29 minutes on the court.

"We got blown out, so I didn't play too well," Ball said after the game, making it clear that the loss carried the greatest weight when self assessing his performance.

"I thought he was good," Lakers coach Luke Walton said about his young point guard. "The way he plays the game, it's such a feel thing for him. A couple times, I thought he was out there feeling it out."

Walton added, "Over all, it was a decent game for him."

While Ball may not have been looking for his shot, 20-year-old second-year forward Brandon Ingram was not shy with his shot, as the former Duke Blue Devil attempted 15 shots on the night but only converted on three field goals.

Ingram said after the game, "I think I took every shot that I practice on every practice, just didn't go down the way I wanted it to."

The Georgia native added that he would look to take the same types of shots on Friday night in Phoenix: "If I die away from those shots, that's where you lose confidence."

On the night, new center Brook Lopez led the Lakers in scoring with 20 points and field goal attempts, 19. Lopez, who serves as one of the veterans on the young squad, was complimentary of Ball's resilience following the loss, and the rookie clearly had a target on his back in the eyes of Clippers guard Patrick Beverly.

Beverly said, "I told (Ball) after the game, due to all of the riff-raff his dad brings, he is going to get a lot of people coming at him. I said to be ready for that and I let him know after the game: What better way to start than with 'Mr. 94 feet?'"

"I think what impressed me most was he didn't back down," Lopez said about Ball's debut. "He kept his attitude. He kept his composure. He was good leading the team, and things are only going to go up from here."

Lopez added, "When you look at (Ball's) composure, it's well beyond his years."

For the Lakers, Larry Nance Jr. earned the start at power forward, and Nance finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds to record a double-double in fewer than 30 minutes on the court. Nance in the starting lineup meant that Julius Randle found himself on the second unit.

"I think when he stepped on the court that he wasn't ready to go, like he has been for the past week, so I pulled him out to tell him about it, and I know he wasn't happy with me, but that's my job," Walton explained his decision to yank Randle late in the first quarter and proceed to demonstrably lash out at the 22-year-old power forward.

Walton continued, "It's an adjustment, but it's something that you have to do. When you're coming off the bench, when you get put into the game, you have to be ready to go at that moment. It's not easy, but he can do it. He'll be fine."

Walton's initial assessment focused on the team's defense suffering when the Lakers continued to miss shots. However, the Lakers avoided over fouling, held the Clippers to 40.7 percent shooting from the field and also generally liked the shots they were taking. As would be expected with young teams, the Lakers are not going to get better overnight. This is a process.

Perhaps Ball best explained the mentality of the locker room: "We lost today. Tomorrow, we've got to regroup, come back and get a win."

The Lakers are in Phoenix on Friday night. Tip-off is 7 p.m. Pacific Time.

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