Lonzo Ball Played 'Fine' in Debut vs. Clippers, Says Luke Walton

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball gestures to teammates during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton downplayed concerns regarding Lonzo Ball's debut against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night. 

Although Ball finished with just three points (on 1-of-6 shooting), nine rebounds and four assists, Walton said he thought those numbers could have all been higher if the Lakers had been sharper as a team in the 108-92 loss. 

"I think Lonzo's getting a bad [rap] for getting destroyed his first game," Walton said Friday evening, per ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk. "Personally, I thought he could have had a double-double with rebounds and assists, [but] we didn't make any shots. He'll figure out when to get his shots. I thought he was fine last night. It's a good learning experience for everybody."

Lonzo's debut was made all the more difficult by a matchup with pesky Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley, who gave the No. 2 overall pick no room to operate as he crowded his space and did all he could to frustrate the Lakers floor general. 

On Thursday, Youngmisuk and Marc J. Spears reported Beverley could be heard in the tunnel after the game shouting: "Weak ass motherf--ker. Bring him out on the court with me, and I will tear his ass up."

Beverley later told reporters Ball should get used to being under the microscope. 

"I told him, due to all the riff-raff his dad brings, he’s going to get a lot of people coming at him, and he has to be ready for that," he said, per Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins. "He has to perform on a stage like this every night. It’s not only going to be me. It’s going to be a lot of people trying to go at his head."

Naturally, LaVar Ball responded to Beverly in trademark fashion. 

"Yeah, you shut the motherf--ker down," the Ball family patriarch said, per Youngmisuk and Spears. "And your check still ain't going to go no higher than what it is. Yeah, you shut him down. OK ... Who is Patrick Beverley? He played all last year, and nobody said nothing about him."

Lonzo will get a chance to exact his revenge against Beverley and even the score Nov. 27 when the two sides meet again under the bright lights at Staples Center. 

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