The Lakers are rallying around the rest of the NBA's Lonzo Ball hate

Ball Don't Lie

Marcin Gortat’s prediction didn’t work out so well for the Washington Wizards.

The Wizards center promised All-Star teammate John Wall would “torture” Lonzo Ball, ripping the Los Angeles Lakers rookie’s father in the process, and Wall doubled down, ensuring “no mercy” on Ball. The Lakers took it personally, using those comments as motivation in practice before carrying the momentum into Wednesday’s 102-99 overtime win, holding Wall to a 7-of-22 shooting night in defeat.

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“The competitor in Lonzo, of course he didn’t take it so well,” Lakers forward Brandon Ingram told reporters after Thursday’s practice. “And with his teammates behind him, we didn’t take it so well.”

“I did bring it up in shoot-around today,” Lakers coach Luke Walton added on Wednesday, via the Los Angeles Times. “It’s nothing personal but we defend each other. If people want to talk about our players, we should be offended. … We’re not just going to [take it]. I don’t know if that was part of it but our guys were much more locked in tonight.”

Oh, it was part of it, all right.

“Yeah, 100 percent,” Ball told the media after the win. “It started at practice. Everybody bought into it getting ready for this game, and you could see it on the court. When we were guarding tonight, we were all playing for one another. No one was playing selfish, we weren’t leaving guys on islands. John Wall is one of the fastest point guards in all of the NBA, and you saw every time he had the ball, we had people on both sides of him. So, it was definitely a team effort tonight.”

Ball wasn’t spectacular. He didn’t make a shot until the third quarter, finishing with six points on 2-of-11 shooting, but he added 10 assists (against one turnover), eight rebounds, a block and a steal. The result was a game-high plus-13 rating, thanks to plays like this ludicrous outlet pass to Larry Nance Jr.:

“It would be a lot easier to win if I make some shots,” Ball added to reporters afterward, “but I’m going to rebound, I’m going to try to defend every time I can, and I’m going to find the open man.”

The Lakers are so high on Ball’s ability to impact the outcome despite his 31.6 percent shooting that Walton’s main concern is that there aren’t enough of the rookie’s minutes to go around for everybody:

“The way Julius [Randle] was rolling to the basket in the fourth quarter [against New Orleans on Sunday], I’d like to get them some minutes together,” said Walton, via the L.A. Times. “You could go down the line. The way that Brook [Lopez] can stretch the floor, I’d like to keep Brook and Lonzo in together. Unfortunately a lot of those guys are overlapping positions and we’re not going to play Lonzo 48 minutes.”

Wall did make Lonzo look silly on occasion:

Then again, the same could be said about any point guard in the NBA, and Ball didn’t back down:

The Lakers made life equally as difficult on Wall as he did on Ball. A game-worst minus-12 on the night, Wall turned the ball over four times on his way to nine assists and missed 15 shots, including 10 of his last 11 attempts — three of which were blocked by Lakers forward Julius Randle in big moments:

In the end, the lasting image was Wall trying to draw contact from Ball on a game-tying 3-point attempt that never had a chance, all while Wizards teammate Bradley Beal was open in the corner:

“We have to find a better shot. He’s better than that,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Wall’s shot afterward, via The Washington Post. “Something that we’re going to have get better with. I thought Brad was open at the end but I trust John’s decision. I didn’t like the shot but I trust his decisions. He’s made a lot of great decisions over the years, especially with me the last year and four games [of the 2017-18 season]. So I live with those decisions but we have to get better with them and he will.”

Things all seemed to go according to LaVar Ball’s plan, once again.

Lonzo’s father promised after the Lakers’ loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, “Washington come in Wednesday? They better beware, because Lonzo isn’t losing again. Not in the same week.”

To which Gortat fired back on Twitter:

Gortat doubled down on those comments with NBC Sports Washington prior to the matchup:

“To be honest with you, I don’t see anything genius about that,” said Gortat. “You know, the same-case scenario could be, I could go to the media and say that I’m much better than Shaquille O’Neal or I could punk Hakeem Olajuwon under the basket. Am I going to look genius? No, I’m gonna look like a moron, so bottom line is I don’t think that’s genius what he’s doing.”

“Obviously, he got a little bit of hype about his son, and people put a microphone right in front of his face, so that’s why he’s talking. But at the end of the day, I don’t think he’s doing any good to his kid. Because at the end of the day, people are just going to wait for him, and because of his comments, his kid’s gonna have a tougher job in a game.”

Wall endorsed The Polish Hammer’s comments prior to the game, promising “no mercy” on Ball. This was tamer than Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley calling Lonzo a “weak ass [expletive],” but the message was the same: Opponents want to make Lonzo pay for his LaVar’s brash promises.

Brooks tried to temper his players’ comments:

But the bulletin-board material damage was done, and the Balls got the last laugh. Even with nine minutes remaining and the Wizards leading by double-digits, LaVar continued to guarantee victory:

“Who is Marcin Gortat?” added Lonzo’s dad. “He ain’t ever done an interview in his life until he said my name or my son’s name.”

When the buzzer sounded on a Lakers victory, LaVar made sure Gortat remembered his face:

And the Wizards had no choice but to give Lonzo and the Lakers their due:

We shall see if Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors heed Beal’s advice. They face Lonzo’s Lakers next.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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