Without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, all of the attention has been on the Los Angeles Lakers young core — especially Brandon Ingram.
Despite an inconsistent 2018-19 NBA season so far, Ingram found a balance between scoring and facilitating in the 121-114 win over the Sacramento Kings with a near triple-double.
While Ingram got away from this balance attack late in the 107-100 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, one major reason was the absence of Kyle Kuzma, who suffered a lower back contusion and didn’t play after halftime.
“The defense kind of collapsed. I didn’t have shooters open tonight,” Ingram explained.
“I know I kind of got away from the way that we were playing at the beginning of the game when we were finding shooters that were knocking down some shots. We didn’t hit as many as we wanted to. I think when we’re playing the game the right way, we can get a better result.”
With Kuzma set to undergo an MRI, Ingram is embracing the difficult situation created as the injuries continue to pile up. “It was a challenge, but I think it’s a challenge we want to dive into. Our main goal is to continue to get better and win basketball games,” Ingram said.
“We’re just going to be focused and focus on every detail that we have to do coming into our games. Just follow the game plan. When we follow the game plan, I think we have a good chance winning these basketball games.”
As the Lakers prepare for the New York Knicks before a two-game road trip, they have been competitive in all four games, but unable to close them out.
Since the Lakers relied on James and Rondo in late-game situations, it has been a major adjustment for Ingram and the young core. Despite having second-half leads, the offense becomes stagnant which has resulted in poor shot selection and turnovers.
With their two top scoring options potentially missing some time, the Lakers are trying to remain in the playoff picture in a competitive Western Conference.
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