Basketball

Ball's injury a greater loss than Lakers' defeat

Lakers go down 117-85 to Nuggets, as Ball sprains left ankle again

The Los Angeles Lakers lost 117-85 to the Denver Nuggets, but the real loss was an injury to Lonzo Ball.

Ball sprained his left ankle as he was backtracking and fell over Malik Beasley. He tried to play in the third quarter but was unable to do so.

Ball, who said he tweaked the same spot on his left ankle that he had injured, later insisted on social media that he will be playing in the Lakers' next match against the Indiana Pacers tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"I mean, I wanted to play," Ball told ESPN. "Coaching staff thought it was better for me to take a rest, so that's what I did. ... Gave it a go, and I guess I wasn't moving good enough for them, so they just pulled me."

When asked if he could feature in the Lakers' next game, Ball said: "I'm playing Thursday, yeah."

His X-rays turned out to be negative, but the Lakers might prefer to rest him.

The Lakers had a dismal outing and were five of 35 from behind the three-point line and shot just 39.1 per cent overall. Kyle Kuzma, who led Los Angeles with 21 points, was one-for-seven from long range, and LeBron James missed all four of his three-pointers.

James finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

Just as the Lakers lost Ball to injury, Denver took control of the game in the third quarter with a strong push out of the locker room.

I'm playing Thursday, yeah.
LA Lakers' Lonzo Ball insisting that he is fit to face the Indiana Pacers tomorrow morning (Singapore time)

Nikola Jokic hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to quickly make it a 14-point lead.

Paul Millsap hit a couple of baskets, including an up-and-under baseline jumper that gave the Nuggets a 74-58 lead midway through the period.

Denver ended the quarter when Mason Plumlee tipped in a Trey Lyles miss with 2.1 seconds left for an 89-71 advantage.

The Nuggets put it away early in the fourth. Jamal Murray and Lyles hit three-pointers, and after Kuzma hit a floater, Lyles drained a turnaround jumper to give Denver a 104-78 lead with 7:29 left.

James and the rest of the starters sat on the bench the rest of the game as Denver closed it out. - AFP

OTHER RESULTS: Detroit 115 New York 108, Miami 113 Atlanta 115, Memphis 114 Toronto 122, Phoenix 104 Indiana 109

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