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Lonzo Ball and the Lakers downplay rematch with Jamal Murray and the Nuggets

Four days after Lakers coach Luke Walton called Jamal Murray's actions disrespectful, and Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma said they couldn't wait to see him again, Murray is in Los Angeles.

The Denver Nuggets' point guard drew the ire of the Lakers after Friday's game in Denver, but Tuesday morning, the Lakers downplayed the potential for tempers to flare in the evening game.

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Ball was asked if he is good at resisting the temptation to be baited by trash talk or other perceived signs of disrespect from an opposing player.

"For sure," Ball said. "It's happened my whole life."

When the Lakers played the Nuggets on Dec. 2, Murray tried to agitate Ball throughout the game. As the game clock expired on a double-digit win by the Nuggets, he dribbled around Ball, then was fouled immediately by Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle.

"It means a lot," Ball said. "We move as one, we are a team, it is nice to have them in my corner."

Murray was at it again on Friday in Denver. Isaiah Thomas jawed at him in response while he was at the free-throw line, then followed the second-year player to the Nuggets bench to continue. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sent Murray into the first row of fans on one foul. Walton even yelled toward the Nuggets' bench at one point.

"That's two times in a row now that he's done it, so we'll see what happens tonight," Ball said.

Denver's Jamal Murray guards the Lakers' Lonzo Ball on March 2 at Pepsi Center.
Denver's Jamal Murray guards the Lakers' Lonzo Ball on March 2 at Pepsi Center. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Walton stayed away from addressing the matter after shootaround. When asked about Murray, he deflected deftly by saying the team just needed to play better than in their two previous meetings.

Behind closed doors, he urged his team not to worry about anything Murray might do.

"He basically just said stay true to the game, make winning plays and don't worry about all the stuff that is going on and go out there and take care of business," Ball said.

Twitter: @taniaganguli

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