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Lakers' Lonzo Ball (calf) uncertain for Summer League championship

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 7/17/2017 Ben Golliver
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LAS VEGAS – Lonzo Ball has led the Lakers to the Summer League championship game, but it remains to be seen whether the highly-touted rookie point guard will take the court against the Blazers on Monday night.

The No. 2 overall pick dazzled again in LA’s 108-98 semifinal win over Dallas at the Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday, posting 16 points and 10 assists, including one long-distance dime that prompted Lakers president Magic Johnson to stand up from his courtside seat and applaud. But Ball exited the game in the third quarter with right calf tightness and, after receiving treatment, remained on the bench for the entire fourth quarter.

While Lakers GM Rob Pelinka told reporters at halftime that winning the summer championship was an organizational goal, it’s unclear whether Ball, who wore ice packs on both of his calves after the game on Sunday night, will give it a go.

“It’s tight still,” Ball said. “But we play at 7 p.m. (PT) tomorrow so hopefully I’m ready to go. … This is the first time my calf has gotten tight. [Sitting out] was just being cautious. I wanted to get back out there but the training staff took care of me.”

The UCLA product previously missed a game against the Kings on Monday due to a minor groin injury, but he returned to play four games in five nights as the Lakers made a push through the playoff portion of the tournament. Ball has logged heavy minutes this week, 36 minutes against the Sixers on Wednesday, 34 minutes against the Cavaliers on Thursday and 34 minutes against the Nets on Saturday. Summer League contests are only 40 minutes rather than the NBA-standard 48 minutes. Following Saturday’s game against Brooklyn, Ball acknowledged that he was “tired.”

When healthy, Ball has been a top contender for Summer League MVP honors, registering two triple-doubles and leading the competition in assists.

Ball will receive treatment on his calf on Sunday evening and Monday morning before the Lakers make a determination on his status against the Blazers, who beat the Grizzlies 87-82 in their semifinal game on Sunday.

“No idea yet,” Lakers summer coach Jud Buechler said, when asked about Ball’s availability. “We’ll see. We’ll find out after our breakfast [on Monday]. … His health is number one.”

Ball and the Lakers have been the top attraction at Summer League, helping generate a sellout of 17,500 fans for their game against the Celtics. The Southern California native has also received significant buzz by switching up his sneakers throughout the tournament. On Sunday, Ball wore Jordan 31s after previously wearing, in order, his Big Baller Brand ZO2 signature shoes, Kobe Bryant’s signature Nike shoes, James Harden’s signature Adidas shoes, and Stephen Curry’s signature Under Armour shoes.

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