The Los Angeles Lakers have really been playing some nice basketball as of late. Currently on a five-game winning streak, they've won seven of their last 10 games, and have the 10th-best record (17-10) since the start of 2018. It's too little, too late in terms of making the playoffs, but they've been a pleasant surprise.
And speaking of surprises, it might be time to start paying attention to Lonzo Ball's 3-point shot. Historically bad at the start of his rookie season -- he shot 24 percent from downtown in November -- Ball has turned things around since returning from a knee injury that kept him out for a month.
Against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night, Ball went 6 of 10 from downtown, setting a new career-high for 3-pointers in a game. More impressive, however, was that he made three of those triples in the final three minutes, including two go-ahead 3-pointers in the final 80 seconds.
He finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists as the Lakers came back from a 17-point deficit to beat the Spurs on the road, 116-112. In doing so, he became the first Laker to ever have a game with six 3-pointers and 11 assists -- a bit of an obscure stat, but a cool one nonetheless.
Following his big night in San Antonio, Ball is now 14 of 22 from behind the arc in his four games since returning from injury, which is good for over 63 percent.
Note: The shot chart below says "last 5 games," but that is for the Lakers as a team. Ball did not play in one of those games.
While he surely isn't going to keep that kind of shooting up the rest of the season, there are some positive signs for Ball and his shooting numbers.
For one, his catch-and-shoot numbers are way up. In this recent four-game stretch, he's taking just under four catch-and-shoot 3-pointers per game, and hitting 60 percent of them. Prior to his injury, Ball was knocking down just 32.5 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts.
And on a related note, he's recently been getting far more open looks. Over the past four games, 75 of his field goal attempts have been 3-pointers that NBA.com classifies as either "open" or "wide-open." He's making 62.5 percent of the "open" attempts, and 61.5 percent of the "wide-open" attempts.
Before his injury, only 48.6 percent of his field goal attempts were "open" or "wide-open," and he was making less than 32 percent in each category.
So to sum things up, Ball, over the past four games, has been getting better looks on a more frequent basis, and has finally started to make the shots he was expected to make all along. Of course this trend will have to be monitored over the rest of the season, but there is certainly reason for Lakers fans to be excited about Ball's 3-point shooting.