The Los Angeles Lakers lost in heart-breaking to the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night, coming all the way back from an early deficit to fall 113-110 when Damian Lillard nailed a game-winner over the outstretched arms of sophomore forward Brandon Ingram with 0.7 seconds left to play.
Ingram had a good night against the Blazers, scoring 13 points on 11 shots while playing mostly-solid defense throughout the night. Unfortunately on that final play it just wasn’t enough.
After the game, Ingram wasn’t happy with himself for his defense on that Lillard shot via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Brandon Ingram was frustrated with himself, saying he didn’t think he got close enough to Lillard or forced him off what he wanted.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 3, 2017
Ingram being hard on himself is evidence of his competitiveness, and the lack of satisfaction he had with his effort because the Lakers didn’t get the result they wanted is understandable.
Still, it’s also normal for a second-year wing to not be able to stay with one of the quickest, craftiest and most clutch guards in the league on a final possession. Especially when he’s been so effective for the Lakers on defense otherwise.
Defensive rating isn’t a perfect stat, but it’s indicative of how much better Ingram has gotten on that end this season. When Ingram is on the floor, Lakers opponents score 99.7 points per 100 possessions, the fourth-best mark on the team. When Ingram is off the floor? The Lakers are lit up for 105.2 points per 100 possessions, the worst the Lakers are on defense when any one player sits.
Does that mean Ingram is already a shoe-in for first-team all defense? Of course not, but it shows how much progress he’s made since being a skinny, easy-to-push-around teenager during his rookie season. One shot by Lillard doesn’t negate that improvement, even if it’s not surprising Ingram wouldn’t feel that way right after a loss.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB