The Los Angeles Lakers have Marcin Gortat to thank for giving them extra motivation to beat the Washington Wizards last night.
Earlier in the week, the Polish big man claimed that John Wall was going to "torture" Lonzo Ball in their matchup at Staples Center.
He was responding to comments by Ball's father LaVar who warned the Wizards to beware as his son was not going to allow the Lakers to lose twice in succession.
After a thrilling overtime encounter in L.A. last night, it was LaVar who was proved right as the Lakers emerged with a 102-99 win.
After the game, head coach Luke Walton admitted that his players were fired up for the contest and were determined to rally around their point guard and show that they had his back against opponents looking to target him.
Walton's message to the team was to be "offended" and not accept taunts from rivals.
"Our guys were more locked in tonight," Walton said. "It shouldn't be anything to do with [what Marcin Gortat and Wall said about Ball]. [But] I did [tell them] it is nothing personal but we defend each other.
"If people want to talk about our players, we should be offended and we should go into that game and telling ourselves that is not all right and we are not going to stand for that and we are not just going to [lay down] and let that happen."
Wall stated that he was going to show "no mercy" to Lonzo but shot 7-of-22 from the field and missed the potential game-tying shot at the buzzer.
The Wizards All-Star admitted that he was motivated by LaVar's comments that the Purple and Gold wouldn't lose and it possibly affected his game as a result.
But he did end the night with 18 points, nine assists and one steal in the loss.
Worryingly for the Lakers, Ball also struggled with his shot once again. The 19-year-old went 2-for-11, missing all five of his three-point attempts.
But he got what he wanted most with the win, impacting the game with 10 assists, eight rebounds, one block and one steal to go with his six points and just one turnover.
In overtime, the rookie scored two points and had two assists while Wall was 1-for-5 with two points.
The tests will keep coming for Lonzo but if his teammates play with this intensity and continue to compete, it'll give him the confidence to take on the challenges and get better.News Now - Sport News