After suffering a mild left ankle sprain at practice on Friday, Lonzo Ball has been cleared to play against De’Aaron Fox and the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. Ball is will start.
Ball was a full participant at shootaround, per Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell, and informed head coach Luke Walton that he wanted to play, but Walton wanted to see how his ankle responded after practice before making any final decisions.
Having a healthy Ball will come in handy as the Lakers will take on a Sacramento team that likes to play through their guards, particularly Fox, who Ball has a well-documented history with.
According to NBA.com, Ball has the highest usage percentage (23.4 percent) on the Kings and it’s easy to see why. Through 12 games with the Kings, Fox is averaging 18.5 points per game on a 58.2 percent true shooting percentage. He’s also averaging 7.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
His breakout sophomore year is one of the reasons the Kings are off to a hot 7-5 start, which is currently good enough for the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. If they continue to look like a legit playoff team, the playoff race in the west is going to get really, really interesting.
The Lakers have an opportunity to put a dent in their momentum on Saturday and it starts with the matchup between Ball and Fox on the perimeter.
If Ball can’t contain Fox, not only will he be burnt to smithereens on the internet, but he’ll also see his playing time go to Rajon Rondo again. Ball has played under 25 minutes in four of the last five games.
Ball is in need of a big game and Sacramento would be the perfect place for it.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.