Wednesday night’s matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors saw multiple showdowns of young Lakers and the players many hope they can eventually become. Lonzo Ball faced Stephen Curry. Julius Randle battled Draymond Green.
At the forefront on this night, however, was Brandon Ingram squaring off with reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant. The comparisons have been constant ever since Ingram was drafted, and last night he rose to the occasion with arguably the best game of his career.
Ingram finished with 32 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks. Durant is extremely familiar with Ingram as the two shared some time together during Team USA workouts over the summer.
He has noticed one major difference in the second-year forward. “Just confidence. Luke put the ball in his hands and let him make plays,” Durant said after the Warriors’ 127-123 victory.
“All night he made plays, finished over the top, made the [jumpers], made good decisions. As a player playing against him, I hate to see it. But if I was watching on TV, I’d be really excited for him. You can see he’s learning and getting better. He’s growing as a player, and his teammates and coaches believe in him.”
Ingram was clearly motivated for this matchup with Durant. Even head coach Luke Walton noticed that he was extremely focused all day ahead of the game. Ingram attacked Durant and the rest of the Warriors all night, leading the Lakers as they nearly upset the defending champs.
“It was very competitive,” Ingram said of matching up with Durant. “I think I lost myself into the game a little bit. Just trying to compete. The competitive nature came out when we were scoring.”
If Ingram continues to improve at this rate, the Lakers could very well have their offensive centerpiece, regardless of who the team potentially brings in this summer.
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