LAS VEGAS — Lonzo Ball’s statistics were down after two big games, but he still had the building buzzing Saturday night at the NBA Summer League.
Ball flirted with another triple-double, Vander Blue had 27 points and Kyle Kuzma added 26 as the Lakers topped the Brooklyn Nets, 115-106, in a quarterfinal at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Ball finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in 34 minutes, again having more success as a facilitator than a shooter (4 for 12 from the field, 1 for 3 from 3-point range).
“Team effort,” Ball said. “They came through in the fourth quarter and got the win as a collective unit. Moving on.”
Ball, who had a triple-double and a 36-point, eight-rebound, 11-assist performance in his two previous games, airballed a pair of first-half shots.
14 PTS – 9 REBS – 7 ASTS
— NBA (@NBA) July 16, 2017
“As long as we’re winning, (Summer League is) successful,” Ball said. “That’s all I care about.”
As usual, Ball’s footwear commanded considerable attention. After wearing his own ZO2 shoes in his first two games, which sell for $495 under his family’s independent Big Baller Brand, Ball wore the Nike Kobe A.D.s and a James Harden signature Adidas in the next two. It was Under Armour’s turn Saturday when Ball played in a pair from Steph Curry’s signature line.
Lonzo Ball in the Under Armour Curry 4 during Summer League pic.twitter.com/njasS5W3dJ
— B/R Kicks (@br_kicks) July 16, 2017
“When I wake up, I decide that,” Ball told ESPN.
When asked if the shoe rotation is part of a bigger plan, the No. 2 overall pick from UCLA replied, “You could say that.”
“It’s making a statement to the brands of what they could have had with an open mind,” his father, LaVar Ball, told ESPN earlier Saturday. “The players are the brand ambassadors. The brand is nothing without the players.”
The Nets, who featured a roster with far more NBA experience, raced to 63 points and an eight-point lead at halftime.
The Lakers (4-2) adjusted to the pace after the intermission, even using a five-guard lineup for one stretch, and finished with the highest point total for any team at Summer League this year.
“I think we tired them out a little bit,” said Kuzma, who added four assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. “Their pace in the first half kind…