The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA so far this season, getting off to a 7-5 start under first-year head coach Luke Walton.
They have some impressive wins through their first 12 games, including wins at home over the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, and road wins over the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings.
They have also won some games in which they trailed by double digits, showing that they will never give up even if they are down, which can be credited to Walton and the confidence that he has instilled in the team’s young core.
Tuesday night the Lakers hosted the Brooklyn Nets, and despite not playing their best game the Lakers were able to come away with a 125-118 victory.
After the game rookie forward Brandon Ingram talked about the win, saying that neither he nor Walton were satisfied with it, via Mark Medina of the OC Register:
“As a player I’m never satisfied,” Ingram said. “He’s never satisfied. We won tonight but it didn’t feel like we put our all into it. We didn’t make enough defensive stops. We didn’t play the offense the way we liked to play tonight. We want to get better the next game.”
The Lakers were certainly the more talented team on the floor on Tuesday, but they simply couldn’t put away the Nets as their defense continually failed them despite some excellent individual offensive performances.
Julius Randle became the youngest Lakers player since Magic Johnson to earn a triple-double in the win, as he had 17 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, while point guard D’Angelo Russell got hot early, hitting five three-pointers in the first quarter, and totaling 32 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists on 11-of-20 shooting.
Ingram has started to gain confidence on the court, as in the last few games Walton has been playing him extended minutes in the fourth quarter, which is helping him develop in his rookie season.
The Lakers have a tough stretch coming up, as they play the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors twice and the Atlanta Hawks in their next six games.