LeBron James watched Lonzo Ball play in Las Vegas during the 2017 NBA Summer League, taking in a Los Angeles Lakers’ game from a baseline seat as a spectator. He was getting a better view Wednesday. James and Ball were on-court teammates for the first time when the Lakers and the Golden State Warriors squared off in Las Vegas to highlight Wednesday’s preseason slate.
Ball didn’t start, but checked into the game in place of Rajon Rondo just 2 minutes, 13 seconds into the game. “It’s just fun to have our full group,” James said. The plan was for neither James nor Ball to play that much, especially since Ball — who has been recovering from a knee issue — had not yet appeared in this preseason. And James didn’t want to burden his new point guard with a lot of expectations, so he was keeping his approach for Wednesday very simple. “He plays basketball,”
James said of Ball before the game. “He knows how to play basketball.” It was the first time James was facing the Warriors since last season’s NBA Finals — when his second stint as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers ended with Golden State sweeping its way to a second consecutive championship. But he downplayed this being any extension of his rivalry with the Warriors, or the rivalry between California clubs. “Preseason game,” James said.