Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball on loss to Jazz: 'Blame it on me'

By @saihoops on
Lakers vs Nuggets live streaming, Lonzo Ball
Sep 30, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) dribbles the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves player Jeff Teague (0) in the second half during a preseason NBA basketball game at Honda Center. USA TODAY Sports / Richard Mackson

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has taken responsibility for the team's 96-81 defeat to the Utah Jazz on Saturday. Ball, drafted No. 2 overall by the Lakers this offseason, finished with a tally of 9 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 5 turnovers as the Lakers fell to a 2-4 record to start the new season.

Ball cited two particular plays late in the third quarter when the Jazz ran away with the momentum. After trailing Utah 31-6 at the end of the first quarter, the Lakers were within six points late in the third quarter. Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell made a spectacular play, which involved catch and throwing down a rebound for a ferocious put back dunk that brought the fans at the Vivint Smart Home Arena to their feet.

The Lakers rookie took blame for Mitchell's dunk since he as in position to grab the rebound. On the very next play, Ball committed a turnover that led to a three-pointer from Mitchell. This helped Utah take a 11-point lead into the fourth quarter and the Lakers got no closer to five points after that. 

"That was my fault. 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," Ball said after the game. Lakers coach Luke Walton, in his post-match press conference, admitted that the Mitchell play swung the momentum in Utah's favour.

Lakers starters struggle against Jazz

Second-year forward Brandon Ingram was the only Lakers starter to score in double figures. While Ingram had 16 points, 2 assists and 4 steals, Jordan Clarkson off the bench was the only other Laker in double digits. Clarkson finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

Ball acknowledged that he had to tune up his aggressiveness. "Definitely can improve a lot. I think I had nine points and four assists. It's not enough when I am going like that. That's just a big team, man, to be honest. Rudy Gobert, he is very hard to keep off the glass. Favors as well. They were around the rim constantly, kind of picking up everything."

For the Jazz, point guard Ricky Rubio finished with a tally of 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Mitchell had a career-high 22 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists off the bench. The Lakers will now stay at home to host the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday before leaving to Portland to face the Trail Blazers on Thursday.