LaVar Ball is big on making guarantees when it comes to his son Lonzo. And on Sunday night, shortly after the Lakers lost a home game to the Pelicans, LaVar made one of the biggest guarantees yet. He told Ballislife that there was no way Lonzo and the Lakers were going to lose to the 3-0 Wizards on Wednesday night—and he did so in his usual dramatic fashion.
"They better beware because Lonzo ain’t losing again," LaVar said. "Not in the same week!"
That raised a few eyebrows in the NBA world—and it also got a response out of Wizards center Marcin Gortat. He took to Twitter to say that John Wall was going to "torture" Lonzo during the game.
That’s not how things ultimately played out for Wall and the Wizards, though. On Wednesday night, they traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers, and while they led for much of the game and seemed to have the game in control at times in the second half, the Lakers rebounded to send the game to overtime and eventually made LaVar look like a genius by earning an inspired 102-99 win. Wall and Lonzo both struggled throughout the course of the game—Wall finished with 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 9 assists, while Lonzo put up 6 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists—but their teammates picked up the slack during a game that featured a lot of intensity for a contest being played in late October.
And after the game was over, LaVar, of course, had something to say about it. While he didn’t deliver a long, impassioned interview like he did after Lonzo’s first game against the Clippers, he spoke briefly with ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and told the world, "I told you so."
We should also point out that LaVar continued to guarantee a Lakers’ win during the game—in the fourth quarter, no less—when they were trailing by 10.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t sound like the Wizards were all that upset about the way things went—with the Lakers or LaVar. Following the game, LaVar and Gortat reportedly caught up for a quick, friendly chat on the court.
Wall also spoke with reporters about how impressed he was with Lonzo’s game and gave him credit for the way he conducts himself, despite the things his dad says.
"He’s a quiet kid who doesn’t say too much," Wall said. "He’s been dealing with it [his dad] his whole life. It doesn’t bother him. It’s just new to everybody else. He’s very mature for his age. He can pass, can score the ball—he just wasn’t making shots tonight. We both wanted to play better."
Following the game, Lakers coach Luke Walton addressed the elephant in the room by touching on the guarantee LaVar made on Sunday and the reaction it got from the Wizards. Walton said his team was "more locked in" than usual because of the circumstances surrounding the game, and he also admitted that the team really wanted to rally around Lonzo and get a win for him.
"Our guys were more locked in tonight," Walton said. "It shouldn’t be anything to do with [what Gortat and Wall said about Ball]. [But] I did [tell them] it is nothing personal but we defend each other. If people want to talk about our players, we should be offended and we should go into that game and telling ourselves that is not all right and we are not going to stand for that and we are not just going to [lay down] and let that happen."
All of the LaVar stuff aside, this was a big win for the Lakers against a formidable foe, and that was pretty much all Lonzo wanted to talk about after the game ended.
"I thought tonight was our best defensive night all year," he said. "It started at practice, everyone bought into it, we were ready for this game. You could see it on the court, the way we were guarding tonight, we were all playing for one another."
The Lakers are now 2-2 on the season and have a home game against the Raptors on Friday night to look forward to next.