Lonzo Ball continues to struggle with his shot in Lakers' 111-95 loss to the Wizards

Tania Ganguli, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

The Lakers' leading scorers were Brook Lopez and Jordan Clarkson, who each scored 15 points.

The Lakers, meanwhile, made only 36 percent of their shots and three of 23 3-pointers.

Ball wasn't the only player who struggled shooting, but Wizards fans, like most road fans do, keyed on his performance. After a missed free throw that bounced off the front of the rim, the crowd jeered loudly for his next two free throws, louder than they had for the first. After an air-balled 3-pointer, many in the crowd laughed.

"Probably in his head a little bit when the crowd gets at him a little bit," Lakers second-year forward Brandon Ingram said. "Of course he's a rookie so he's going to make mistakes. He needs to keep fighting and keep fighting. All he can do is keep his head up and keep trying to play the right way."

Said third-year forward Julius Randle: "Can't make 'em if you don't take 'em. You gotta shoot. He's proven that he'll make shots. Eventually the tide will turn. He works his butt off. ... You gotta shoot 'em. Can't be hesitant."

The attention and pressure is greater now than it was when Ball was in college, even as an NBA prospect at UCLA. But he knows he'll have to find his own way to grow through that.

"Try to stay balanced, go out there and help my team win," Ball said. "Everybody focuses on me, spotlight's been on me for a while now. ... I really don't even care, to be honest. I've got to just keep shooting and just improve with every game."

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