LaVar Ball Would Be "Deterrent" to LeBron James Joining the Lakers

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Saturday's matinee at American Airlines Center between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks will be the first proper National Basketball Association game between rookies Lonzo Ball and Dennis Smith Jr. In the case of Luke Walton, that argument tends to come from frustration stemming from the young core still not quite where we all want them to be.

Dennis Smith Jr. outshined his fellow rookie point guard with 23 points, but he didn't get enough from his supporting cast.

Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers (14-27), who blew an early 19-point lead before running away in the fourth quarter with a poise they've shown only fleetingly this season.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had left the door open for Dallas in the fourth quarter by splitting a pair of free throws with 11.6 seconds remaining that left the Lakers with just a 95-93 lead. Rookie Kyle Kuzma now leads the team in 3-point percentage, making 37.8 percent of his shots from deep.

Prior to Thursday's game, the San Antonio Spurs head coach said that Ball "is just another fan from the peanut gallery". "Nobody wants to. But our bosses tell us we have to, because of the ratings, because of the readership.' Somewhere - I guess (LaVar) is in Lithuania - LaVar Ball is laughing at all of us", Kerr added. The 39-year-old doesn't dominate like he used to, but remains as lethal as ever from long-range (42.1 percent on 4.0 three-point attempts). The 20-year old point guard says he can feel the waves coming in but Kuzma ain't buying it. Spurs icon Manu Ginobili returned to the hardwood to enforce a five-point run, bringing San Antonio within six points.

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But since that losing run, the team has rallied and have won their last three games as they've stepped up for their coach.

"I think the first thing to look at is the substance and gravitas of the source that speaks", Popovich said, via ESPN's Michael C. Wright.

Popovich also revealed that Aldridge requested a trade last summer after a rough season. I love playing for him. "You know, he's going to be involved in some kind of action".

Leonard's status for Saturday night's home game against the Denver Nuggets is uncertain. "Whether guys are far back or too close, I can drive around them, I'm just trying to read the defence and make the best play", Ingram said after the win.

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