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Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball has dreadful debut while dad does in-game interviews

By Alex Butler

July 8 (UPI) -- Lonzo Ball went 2-for-15 in his Los Angeles Lakers debut, while his dad LaVar was doing interviews with the media.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft began the game Friday by throwing a slick alley-oop pass to Brandon Ingram on the Lakers' first possession in the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League. The Lakers lost the game 96-93 to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV's campus. Ball made just 1-of-11 3-point attempts.

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"If this is the worst he can do, then the culture is winning," LaVar told reporters, according to Sports Illustrated. "They lost by three or four points, playing his worst game ever. So if he's just alright, they win."

"[Lonzo] ain't gonna be discouraged. This is the worst you can do. Ain't nowhere to go but up. He still kept his team in the game playing his worst game ever."

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LaVar watched the game from a box seat near the court. During the second quarter, cameras caught him doing interviews with the media while his son was playing in the game.

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"It's better for him to start at the bottom than have all this success off the top and now everyone expects it the whole season. He's gonna grow," LaVar said.

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But Lonzo's problems weren't only on the offensive end. In the fourth quarter, the Lakers led 76-74, before Brice Johnson put the moves on the rookie. Johnson caught the ball on the baseline and backed Ball toward the rim. He then put a spin move on the rookie, before throwing down a one-handed slam.

Johnson scored 23 points and had seven rebounds in the win. Sindarius Thornwell had 26 points for the Clippers and Ingram netted 26 points for the Lakers.

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"I'm going to show you what he did do," LaVar told reporters. "Look how many Laker fans are out here. He changed the culture. That's what it's about. It ain't about him being the superstar, its about him changing the culture. Instead of going to the movies, everybody going to watch the Lakers and Big Baller Brand".

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Ball also had five assists, four rebounds, three turnovers and played a team-high 32 minutes for the Lakers.

"He has not played a lot of full-court basketball since [the NCAA tournament]," Lakers summer league coach Jud Buechler told the Los Angeles Times. "We're not going to use that as an excuse. He needs to get better. But it was a hell of an atmosphere tonight for his first game."

Los Angeles battles the Boston Celtics at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center.

"Yeah, only way I can go now is up," Ball told the Times. "That [should] be the worst game I have all week. Hopefully I keep getting better."

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