How a late-night text to Zion Williamson sparked Lonzo Ball’s career night against Golden State
Late Monday night, following the Pelicans’ discouraging loss to the Warriors on nationwide tv, Lonzo Ball sent out a text to colleague Zion Williamson. It was part-apology, part-promise as Ball pledged to offset his bad shooting efficiency.
If he talked the talk on Monday night, he strolled the walk on Tuesday. Ball recuperated from his 3-of-18 efficiency on Monday with his 2nd 33-point efficiency both of his profession and in the last 3 days as the Pelicans knocked off Golden State 108-103.
“I just knew I let my team down and I wasn’t going to do that two nights in a row,” Ball stated on the inspirations for the text. “I know the type of player I am and I believe in myself. I was very confident coming into tonight. I knew I wasn’t going to shoot 3-of-18 again. I just wanted to let (Zion) know I was going to be there with him tonight and I did my best doing that.”
“I think those are big words and he showed us what he’s all about today,” Williamson included. “He came today and showed out. A lot of respect for that.”
While each of Ball’s shots was very important in a narrow win, his fourth-quarter efficiency stood apart. With Brandon Ingram in the locker space after spraining his ankle late in the very first half, the job of getting a needed win fell on the shoulders of Ball and Williamson.
And with Williamson the focus of Golden State’s defense throughout the 2 nights, the majority of that concern went to Ball, who provided in kind, scoring 12 of the Pelicans last 16 points.
He matched a set of 3-pointers by Golden State in the last 3 minutes with long-variety shots of his own, connecting the video game at 95-95 and 98-98, respectively, after each pail. And with the video game on the line and ball game connected at 100-100 in the last 30 seconds, it was Ball who came off a Williamson screen and tore down a step-back, fadeaway midrange jumper to put the Pelicans up 2 points.
“I’m glad he’s my teammate,” Williamson stated. “You love to have teammates like that, you know, that can say stuff like that and then come the next day and show out. He just wants to win and that’s what I love about Lonzo. He wants to win and he’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
Ball topped off his night by as soon as again showcasing his enhancements at the totally free toss line, tearing down 4 straight giveaways in the last 15 seconds to ice the video game away.
“He was huge,” head coach Stan Van Gundy stated. “What that guy has done with his shooting over the past two years in the time he’s been here – 3-point shooting and then free throw shooting – it’s phenomenal. It really is phenomenal what he’s done and he deserves a ton of credit for that.”
“When he’s making shots, it’s a whole different world for us.”
Tuesday’s 33 points connected Ball’s career-high, which was set on Saturday versus Minnesota in another essential win. Prior to Saturday, he had no 30-point efficiencies in his very first 210 video games. In his last 3 video games, he’s done it two times.
“I don’t want to play too many bad nights,” Ball stated. “For me, I just felt like I let my team down. I know what I can do on the court and I didn’t step up to the plate last game. I wanted to be there for the guys tonight, especially Zion. He’s going out every night basically getting 30 (points) and 10 (rebounds) for us. For me to have the type of performance I had yesterday, it’s pretty unacceptable at this time of year and I wanted to fix it.”
Ball tore down 7 3-pointers on Tuesday, the seventh time in his profession he’s done so. 3 of those trips have actually been available in the last month.
“That’s what good players have to do,” James Johnson stated. “It has to be consistent. It has to be day in and day out. And he’s improving greatly, from the free throw line to the 3-point line, his all-around leadership and the way that he’s pushing the ball off makes and off misses. He’s really keeping up our pace and giving us a different look when he’s out there.”
The win keeps the postseason expects the Pelicans alive. While capturing Golden State, who is 3 video games ahead of New Orleans with 6 video games staying, appears not likely, the plunging Spurs look a somewhat more sensible target.
San Antonio sits 2 video games ahead of the Pelicans in the 10th seed with 8 video games still staying. New Orleans won’t manage its own fate in the race, however the Spurs have actually lost 4 video games in a row.
It’s a faint hope, however a hope just possible due to the fact that of Ball, Williamson and a gutsy Pelicans side grinding out a win on Tuesday.
“Like I said, I’m glad he’s my teammate,” Williamson stated. “A dude who just wants to do anything he can to help his team win? I love stuff like that.”
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.