Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James praises 'aggressive' Lonzo Ball, says he 'doesn’t realize how great he is'

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Lonzo Ball put in an impressive performance against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, with teammate LeBron James saying post-game that the sophomore point guard 'doesn't realise how great he is'.

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Ball recorded nine points, 10 rebounds and two assists on the night, but it was his influence on the fourth quarter that caught James' eye in the 90-83 win at STAPLES Center.

Ball was decisive down the stretch, making plays and pressuring the Utah guards on defence. It was that energy alongside Brandon Ingram and some big shot making from James that propelled the Lakers to victory and James believes if Ball maintains that level of focus he can make even more of an impact at the end of games.

"I think he just sometimes doesn't realize how great he is," James said. "The things that he possesses out on the floor ... when Zo realizes how good he is on the floor, it makes him a very dynamic player and it makes us even better. And he's been doing that as of late, his aggressiveness.

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"Even when he's not making [shots], just his attack as you've seen earlier in the game, just him getting to the rim [is key].

"He missed a couple of them, that's absolutely fine. He had a couple charges, that's absolutely fine. When he's aggressive it just changes our dynamic of the team, and he's been doing it of late and we need him to continue to do that because he's very good."

While they held their nerve down the stretch, the Lakers have plenty to clean up after coughing up a season-high 24 turnovers, with James well aware they can't afford to be careless with the ball.

"It was horrible. Horrible. Horrible, man," James said. "You look at the stats [it was bad], but offensively, we just found a way late in the game. But we just defended.

"The best thing about it, when we were turning the ball over, but we still held them in the half court. We did a number on them in the half court defensively. But we're not going to win many games like that, when you turn the ball over 24 times and just have 10 assists."

The Lakers have now won three in a row and nine of their past 11 games, sitting seventh in the Western Conference after a slow start to the season.

They're are back in action on Sunday afternoon against the Orlando Magic at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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