The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to complete a comeback against the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. They fell behind early and were never able to sustain a run to give the Jazz any trouble, ultimately allowing Utah to pull away in the final few minutes and win by a final score of 96-81.
It was a brutal offensive display that was a reminder of how far the Lakers have to go to consistently have games like the ones they had against the Suns and Wizards. Led by a rookie point guard, those offensive struggles are to be expected.
After the game, that same point guard, Lonzo Ball, pinned the loss on himself, specifically pointing out two plays that effectively ended the Lakers’ hopes for a comeback late in the contest.
“Put this loss on me,” Ball said. “We were coming back. Two dumb plays by me, and they got up.”
“That was my fault,” Ball said of the Mitchell putback dunk, which Lakers coach Luke Walton said swung the momentum. “If you think about it, that kind of changed the whole course of the game. … I should have boxed him out. Then I threw the turnover.”
The dunk that Ball references did change the momentum of the game for good, also giving Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell the confidence to finish out his career game:
Ball has been a tremendous rebounder to start his NBA career but in this instance, he made the rookie mistake of not boxing out before trying to corral the ball.
Nevertheless, Lonzo was a little more confident after his postgame presser, giving a Stephen Curry-esque promise to Lakers fans that they aren’t done improving:
Ball has had his fair share of struggles through six games but that was always expected for a just-turned-20-year-old rookie point guard. That’s not to mention that he has immense pressure placed on him via the hype surrounding his ability as well as his being the only true NBA-caliber point guard on the roster.
Ball alone was not to blame for the loss to the Jazz – players missed shots, missed rebounds, and tossed too many turnovers – but it’s good to see that he’s taking the role of being the squad’s leader seriously even at his young age. That kind of stuff matters going forward and is as big of a reason as his passing for everyone being confident that Ball will be a star.