Lonzo Ball made a critical mistake that cost the New Orleans Pelicans a win over the New York Knicks on Sunday and his head coach was not happy about it. During the postgame press conference, Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy took at shot at Ball without naming him.
With 7.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Knicks had the ball out of bounds and trailed New Orleans 103-100. All the Pelicans needed to do was prevent the Knicks from hitting a 3-pointer. Ball wound up guarding Reggie Bullock, who makes 39.7 percent of his shots from deep. As the play developed, Ball cheated off Bullock -- who, again, is a very good shooter -- and couldn't recover when the ball found him. Bullock drilled a 3-pointer from the corner to send it to overtime.
Here's the play:
If Ball allows Derrick Rose to make the layup, the Pelicans almost certainly win the game. Instead he got suckered in and left his man wide open. The Knicks wound up winning in overtime, 122-112.
Here's what Van Gundy had to say about that late fourth quarter play:
If you watch the defense, the only guy not doing what he was supposed to is Ball, so it's not a mystery who Van Gundy is calling out here.
Ball is having the best season of his career, but it's probably not enough to secure a spot in the Pelicans' future. The impending free agent has posted career-highs in points (14.2), field goal percentage (41.9), 3-point percentage (37.6), free throw percentage (79.2), true shooting percentage (55.7) and PER (15.41).
Ball is only 23 and should have a number of suitors in free agency, but it sounds like Van Gundy is done with him.