Lonzo Ball made NBA history on Saturday night, but a record-breaking individual performance meant little to him.
At 20 years and 15 days old, Ball packed the stat sheet for the NBA’s youngest triple-double ever. But the rookie couldn’t enjoy his own success when it came in a 98-90 loss to Milwaukee.
“I really don’t care,” Ball said. “We took a loss, so it really doesn’t mean nothing.”
Despite the loss, the second-overall pick did everything for the Lakers, finishing the night with 19 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals.
His triple-double broke the previous youngest mark set by LeBron James in 2004, when the future Hall of Famer was only five days older than Ball was on Saturday.
But Lakers head coach Luke Walton knew that his point guard wouldn’t be satisfied without his team getting the win.
“What’s great about him is he doesn’t care (about individual numbers),” Walton said. “… It’s about the loss. It’s not about his stats.
“That’s the type of person he is. That’s the type of player he is. That’s the type of teammate he is. The success of the team means much more to him than his individual stats.”
Nonetheless, Ball’s night was unprecedented by a player his age.
Facing a Milwaukee team known for aggressively attacking ball handlers on pick-and-rolls, Ball showed composure by turning this strength into his own opportunities and slipping three assists to a rolling Julius Randle (17 points).
“They were blitzing a lot, so that makes the roll pretty much open if you pass it quick enough,” Ball said. “When they went under, I just shot it.”
And Ball — who entered the game shooting a league-low 29.2 percent — splashed his looks.
He went 7-of-12 from the field, attacking the basket with success and hitting 3-of-5 on 3-pointers when the Bucks dared him to shoot.
“My confidence is going to stay the same all year,” Ball said. “I’ve been shooting my whole life, so I’m not gonna stop now.”
Ball’s performance drew praise from the Bucks’ Hall of Fame coach, whom he has been compared to early in his career.
But Jason Kidd cautioned that it is important to give Ball time to develop before judging him.
“The triple-double is going to be the norm for him,” Kidd said. “He’s going to fill up stat sheets. We just need to give him time.
“We are trying to put him in a microwave and speed him up. He has to make mistakes, he’s going to have bad nights. But he competes.”
While Lonzo attacked the Bucks relentlessly, his fellow rookie, Kyle Kuzma, also had a strong night.
Kuzma snapped out of a two-game shooting slump by finishing with 21 points — just one shy of his season-high — and 11 rebounds.
The 22-year-old found success by attacking the rim and hitting a couple mid-range jumpers, but the Lakers (5-8) wasted too many opportunities as a team.
They continued their turnover-prone ways by allowing a season-high 21 takeaways, and shot a woeful 22-of-37 on free throws.
That, plus a 6-of-22 mark on 3-pointers, was too much charity against the Bucks (6-6), who were directed by the NBA’s scoring leader: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Walton felt that his team did a nice job defending “The Greek Freak” for stretches, but few teams have been able to keep him from dominating games.
Even as the Lakers challenged him on most touches, Antetokounmpo still managed to pile up 33 points — most of which came in the paint — and 15 rebounds to spoil Ball’s record-setting night.