Lonzo Ball "Probable" For Friday, Luke Walton Secure

Luke Walton and Magic Johnson

He has been out with the sprained shoulder since December 23, missing six games. "It makes it a lot better when we win".

During their last five games, the Lakers have scored an average of 107.8 points per game (1.1 above their season average) and allowed an average of 125.0 points per game (13.2 above their season average). Lonzo, however, is averaging just 10 points per game in 31 games played with the Lakers this season.

"We all know he has an ability to score, but his playmaking is huge", said Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff of Evans who finished the game with 32 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Ball's impact has even been shown on other players.

There were several highlights during the Lakers' comeback but perhaps none more backbreaking for the Bulls than Ball's defensive rebound and fling to Caldwell-Pope for an open in-rhythm 3-pointer that turned a two-point game into a 97-92 Lakers' lead with 1:42 left. Jordan Clarkson got the start in place of Ball for the second game in a row, and Clarkson finished with 22 points, four rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes. Those close to the elder Ball indicated to ESPN that he meant that the coaches could be harder on his son rather than criticizing the Lakers' staff.

Ball isn't even having the greatest age-20 season ever in Lakers history, as that honor now belongs to Magic Johnson from the 1979-80 season when he averaged 18 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists in 36.3 minutes per game and a win share of 10.5. The Lakers watched explode for 15 points in eight minutes and throw down a vicious one-handed dunk on. Both teams are also near the bottom in three-point percentage, with the Lakers, yet again, being last.

The Hornets rank first in steals allowed per game (6.6) while the Lakers rank 24th (8.3). Ball said contact to his shoulder will be his biggest issue. "Second unit, shout out to them".

Eight games; the Los Angeles Lakers have lost eight games in a row.

Rookie, who recently was called up from the G League, provided 11 energetic minutes and one impressive offensive rebound putback dunk.

"Whenever I come back", he said, "I'm going to try to go out for that game and see what I bring to the table".

"He is a big part of it", Walton said about how much of the losing streak can be attributed to Ball's absence.

The Hornets won't finish a game with three turnovers on a regular basis, but the precision with which they played in Sacramento is a must for a team of limited shooting.



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