Lonzo Ball’s dud of a debut is long forgotten. And on Wednesday night, so were his Big Baller Brand sneakers.
Now he has the best game of the NBA Summer League — and another playoff game for a chance to top it.
Ball had 36 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in their opening game of the tournament stage.
The No. 2 overall draft pick came back from a one-game absence — and did so wearing Nike Kobe AD sneakers instead of a pair from the line that his father, LaVar, is marketing for $495 a pair. Then he brought the Lakers back from a 15-point deficit to claim a spot in the round of 16 on Thursday against No. 2 seed Cleveland.
Asked why he changed sneakers, Ball said it was “Mamba mentality,” referring to Kobe Bryant’s nickname.
“Just thought I’d switch it up,” Ball added. “Wore them tonight. It’s good when you can wear whatever you want.”
Patrick McCaw scored 26 points, Jordan Bell had another big defensive effort and the Warriors won their opening game of the tournament stage.
After losing all three games of the preliminary round, the 22nd-seeded Warriors avenged a loss to the Timberwolves in the sudden-death second overtime a night earlier and advanced to a second-round game against No. 6 Boston, which is 3-0 in Las Vegas.
SUNS 97, JAZZ 81
No. 4 pick Josh Jackson had 21 points and 15 rebounds to power 13th-seeded Phoenix into a round of 16 matchup with unbeaten Memphis.
Dragan Bender and Mike James each added 18 points for the Suns (2-2), who will meet the fourth-seeded Grizzlies on Thursday.
Utah rested rookie Donovan Mitchell a night after his 37-point performance and fell to 0-4. Eric Griffin had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the No. 20 seed.
KINGS 69, BUCKS 65
Skal Labissiere had 19 points and nine rebounds, Georgios Papagiannis added 17 points and 13 boards, and short-handed Sacramento advanced with its first victory.
All-Rookie selection Buddy Hield and No. 5 pick De’Aaron Fox sat out, then college player of the year Frank Mason left after 4 minutes with an apparent ankle injury. But rookie Justin Jackson from North Carolina shook off a 2-for-14 night from the field to make two free throws with the game tied at 65 with 13.2 seconds remaining, and the No. 19 Kings (1-3) moved on to a meeting with unbeaten and third-seeded Dallas.
PELICANS 105, HAWKS 95
Quinn Cook had 26 points, seven assists and five rebounds as New Orleans picked up its first victory after three losses.
Cheick Diallo and Jalen Jones each added 21 points for the No. 24 seeds, who advance to face No. 8 San Antonio.
NUGGETS 87, ROCKETS 81
Torrey Craig had 27 points and 11 rebounds off the bench to lead Denver to its first victory and a spot in the second round.
The Nuggets, who had dropped their first three games and are seeded 23rd, will meet the No. 7 Brooklyn Nets.
HEAT 89, WIZARDS 88
Justin Robinson made a go-ahead jumper with 11 seconds remaining to send No. 12 Miami into a second-round matchup with the unbeaten and fifth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers.
Robinson scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as Miami improved to 3-1. Lamond Murray Jr. added 17 points.
Washington, the No. 21 seed, fell to 0-4 despite 18 points from Marcus Keene. Ike Diogu had 15 but his potential winning shot was blocked.
TRAIL BLAZERS 88, BULLS 77
Jake Layman scored 22 points, Jarnell Stokes had 16 points and 17 rebounds, and Portland set up a meeting with top-seeded Toronto.
Rookie first-round pick Caleb Swanigan added 13 points and nine rebounds for the No. 16 Trail Blazers (2-2).