On Monday night the Los Angeles Lakers welcomed back forward Brandon Ingram from his four-game suspension. Though the team was unable to get back in the win column, Ingram returned with a bang by putting forth his best game of the early season.
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Ingram hit 9-of-18 from the field including going 3-for-5 from three-point range. He finished with 24 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 3 blocks. He was active on both ends throughout the night and showed no signs of fatigue or rust. That wasn’t by accident.
After the game Ingram spoke about his conditioning, and credited the Lakers assistants for keeping him ready to go while he was out via Spectrum SportsNet:
“My conditioning was good. I got a chance to get up and down and didn’t feel tired out there. That was surprising. I think Brian Keefe and the rest of the coaches did a good job of trying to keep me in game shape.”
One thing that was different in Ingram’s return was the starting lineup. Kyle Kuzma, who had taken Ingram’s starting spot, remained in the lineup with Josh Hart returning to the second unit. Ingram felt the group generally did well:
“It was good. Saw we had a lot of size on the basketball floor. Tried to take advantage of our speed and height.”
The lineup certainly increases the size on the floor with Lonzo Ball being the smallest Lakers starter at 6’6. It also gives the Lakers different options on both sides as Ingram, Kuzma and LeBron James can all operate from multiple different areas on offense, and switch assignments defensively.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton thought the lineup generally fared well, but he couldn’t yet offer a full assessment until watching film.
Ingram got off to a strong start in his first game back and now will look to build on that in the coming games. Most important, of course, is getting wins, but if Ingram continues to play at this level more team success is sure to follow.