The Los Angeles Lakers made sure another long losing streak wasn’t in the works as they came out with a 102-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Several players had big nights, but arguably none was more important than Brandon Ingram.
Head coach Luke Walton decided on a change to the starting lineup, inserting Josh Hart for Tyler Ennis. This meant that Ingram would be operating as the point guard, and he responded with one of his best games of the season.
Ingram nearly recorded a triple-double finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists while committing just two turnovers. Moreover, he played much of the game without coughing the ball up.
After his team’s win, Walton explained the thought process that went into Ingram taking on the point guard role, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We talked to him [Friday] morning about the idea of starting at the point. But we needed him to tell us he wanted that challenge, and we needed to know that he’d push the pace for us. He said he was up for both […] A lot of the assists he created on his own. A couple times with his pace alone, he got Josh Hart a wide-open three in transition, got to the basket for himself, collapsed the defense. A lot of that is credit to the way that he came in and played tonight.”
Walton also noted that the move was also made to force Ingram to be more engaged and aggressive:
“Part of it tonight was we needed to get him more aggressive. Since he’s come back from his ankle injury, we haven’t really had the consistent play from him that we’d been getting before that. We wanted to get him to be more engaged in what we’re doing and put more pressure on the other team’s defense.”
The move definitely worked as Ingram looked much more like the promising player from earlier this season, than the more tentative one fans have seen in recent games.
Ingram’s play is critical to the Lakers’ success and him being willing and able to take on this role says a lot about his growth as a player and leader on this team. Though, some of the excitement after Friday’s win was tempered amid a report Ingram is battling groin tightness.
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