Already with one impressive road win in their pocket, the Los Angeles Lakers were looking to earn another against the surging Houston Rockets. They were well on their way to doing so, building up what was a 21-point lead in the first half.
The Rockets came out in the third quarter with better energy and began to chip away at their deficit. It was still at 15 points when the Lakers suffered yet another injury as Lonzo Ball sprained his left ankle when colliding with James Ennis III.
Ball needed to be carried off the court and was taken for an X-ray at a local hospital because the machine at Toyota Center was not functioning properly. As the Lakers were in a bit of disarray, the Rockets went on a 13-5 run to get within a basket.
Brandon Ingram pointed to Ball’s injury as the moment control of the game slipped away from the Lakers, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think right when Lonzo went down. That’s exactly when it went away. I think we lost momentum a little bit, we got away from what we were doing a little bit. I think we were still doing the same things but some of the pressure went down.”
Ingram, Lance Stephenson and Ivica Zubac did their part to help stabilize the Lakers, who were ahead by seven points with 1:12 remaining. A barrage of 3-pointers tied it and forced overtime, where the Rockets emerged victorious.
That the game wasn’t decided in regulation was something Ingram put on his shoulders, because of a failure to put more pressure on the three-point shot Eric Gordon made to tie it:
“I think I’m kicking myself for not stepping over and being able to get a better contest on the shot. I think if I would’ve stepped over, I don’t think he would’ve had anywhere to go to shoot the basketball or to drive the basketball. I put that one on me.”
Though he may have been disappointed, Ingram shook it off and led the charge in overtime after the Rockets scored the first six points.
Ingram’s 11 points in overtime kept the Lakers competitive but their failures to keep the Rockets off the offensive glass and a late turnover proved to costly.
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