There is nothing worse than losing to the Ball family.
Wednesday evening, I watched as the Wizards croaked away the game in LA, earning their first loss of the season, 102-99.
I tried my best, in the run-up to it this week, to flat-out ignore any forced LaVar Ball drama, despite it going against the better interest of my career (page views).
This is nothing against Lonzo Ball, or his loud father. I have no takes on the Ball family — on whether he’s too involved in his son’s career, not involved enough, or if it’s truly wise to take on the entire sneaker industry during Lonzo’s rookie season — I don’t care. I just… don’t.
John Wall, as far as I know, also tried to avoid falling into the trap.
But they suck you in anyway.
Before you know it, Wall’s completely taken the bait. Via Candace Buckner:
“Nah, no mercy,” Wall responded when asked if he would show leniency to the 19-year-old rookie point guard despite his braggadocious father.
“Certain matchups you really get up for. Like when you play [Golden State Warriors guard] Steph [Curry], you definitely want to have a good game,” Wall said. “I’m playing against [Ball]. [Gortat] said what he said about me. I didn’t say anything. His dad has been talking. … That makes me want to go out there and lead my team and play the best I can play.
“We didn’t say nothing about him, nothing to him, and he says, ‘The Wizards better be ready because he don’t ever lose two in a row,'” Wall continued, then scoffed at the absurdity of the father’s boast. “Like, this is the league now. It’s a different ballgame.”
The end result: The Wizards lost in OT.
It’s no matter the Wizards had the ball, trailing by one, and on their final possession, Wall was very obviously fouled driving to the hoop. But the no-call on Julius Randle triggered a loophole scenario — which completely defies reason and the intentions of replay altogether — allowing for a nonsense review of possession (Wall lost the ball because he was fouled), which very likely reversed the outcome of the game.
“When you swallow the whistle like that,” said Wizards TV play-by-play announcer Steve Buckhantz, “you suffer the consequences when you go to the review, and now you have to change the call.”
“In years past, you could get away with it,” he added. “You can’t any more.”
It’s no matter the Wizards held Ball to six points on 2-of-11 shooting (.182), and Wall had a casual 18-point, 9-assist game, while doing some very John Wall Wizard-like things.
And it’s no matter that if the Lakers were actually any good, they probably wouldn’t welcome the carnival to Staples Center in the first place. The Balls are the Lakers’ latest Nick Young: a sideshow to keep people in the seats until they’re good again.
All that matters is the Wizards lost, and the Lakers won, which means the first thing you see after the game is this:
And then this:
The internet trolls — despite how stupid this all is — win this round.
And you get to sit there and take it.