Basketball

Lonzo has 
ball of a time

Lakers' rookie enjoys his second triple-double more than the first

The first time is often quite forgettable, but it usually gets better - just ask Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball.

The 20-year-old managed his second career triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists and an NBA rookie season-best 16 rebounds as the hosts downed Denver Nuggets 127-109 yesterday morning (Singapore time) at the Staples Center.

Ball had notched his first triple-double - becoming the youngest player in NBA history to do so - during a 98-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov 11.

He finished with 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds that day to surpass LeBron James' mark.

However, Ball admitted that yesterday's feat was more memorable as his side won, with Lakers reserve Julius Randle leading seven double-digit scorers on each team with 24 points.

"This one is a lot better," Ball said.

"I actually like this one. Just keep building on it."

Ball has also become the only player in Lakers franchise history other than Magic Johnson to post multiple triple-doubles as a rookie.

The achievement is all the more remarkable, considering that it has been a trying time for his family recently.

SHOPLIFTING

His brother LiAngelo and two other UCLA basketballers were held in China on suspicion of shoplifting, while his father LaVar was embroiled in a Twitter storm with US President Donald Trump over the case.

The errant players were eventually released and thanked President Trump, who had raised their case with Chinese President Xi Jinping while visiting Beijing last week.

Ball's father LaVar then downplayed Trump's involvement, prompting the US President to tweet that he "should have left them in jail".

Lakers coach Luke Walton said that he made sure Ball was aware that the team were there for him, reported ESPN.

Said Walton: "He's got more on his plate than I can ever imagine anyone having, especially at his age.

"It is our job to be here and let him know that we support him and believe in him. I don't know where it gets too much and how he reacts to it."

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry scored a season-high 39 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and passed out seven assists before fouling out as the Golden State Warriors won 118-111 at Brooklyn.

A day after rallying from a 24-point deficit to beat Philadelphia 76ers, the defending NBA champions surged ahead by as many as 28 points early in the second half before the Nets battled back and Curry was out for the last three minutes.

The Warriors improved to 13-4, matching Houston Rockets for the best record in the Western Conference with their ninth victory in 10 games, despite the absence of star forward Kevin Durant with a left-ankle sprain.

Curry said that trying to be aggressive to make up for Durant's absence led to his 11th career fouling out in the NBA.

"You'd love to have those plays back, but I loved the aggressiveness I had on those possessions," Curry said.

"You don't like to foul out, but it was kind of how I tried to bring that intensity the whole game." - WIRE SERVICES

OTHER RESULTS

Toronto 100 Washington 91, Miami 95 Indiana 120, Brooklyn 111 Golden State 118, Minnesota 97 Detroit 100, Phoenix 113 Chicago 105

Basketball