The Lakers prevailed after Ivica Zubac sank two free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining.
Ball finished with a game-high 36 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists. Naturally, his big night was a subject of discussion on social media:
One of the best players in the world got a firsthand look at Ball and the Lakers as well. Sports Illustrated‘s Ben Golliver showed LeBron James sitting courtside:
James left before he could see Ball almost win the game for Los Angeles. With the Lakers down 100-98, Ball drove inside and made a layup while getting fouled by Furkan Korkmaz. The NBA shared a replay of the bucket:
Ball made the free throw to put his team up a point before the Sixers retook the lead on a James Blackmon Jr. layup.
In his first two games, Ball was guilty at times of setting for long jumpers rather than trying to get into the paint—illustrated by the fact he didn’t attempt a single free throw against either the Clippers or Celtics. That wasn’t the case Wednesday, as Ball went 9-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Trudell praised the rookie for altering his offensive approach:
Some fans may point to Ball’s choice of footwear as a factor in his double-double. Many were surprised to see the rookie point guard eschewed wearing his signature Big Baller Brand ZO2 sneaker, opting instead for Nike’s Kobe A.D. in a purple colorway
SportsCenter offered a good look at the shoes:
Based on how he played Wednesday, Ball may want to stick with the Kobes for the time being.
The 19-year-old showed why he was the second overall pick in the 2017 draft against the Sixers. While he shot 3-of-10 from beyond the arc, he put the Lakers on his back in the second half through both his scoring and playmaking.
It was what Lakers hope is the first of many great performances from Ball in the purple and gold.
Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com