When the Los Angeles Lakers last saw the San Antonio Spurs, they only had Brandon Ingram for 5 minutes as he suffered a left ankle sprain in the first quarter after landing on LaMarcus Aldridge’s foot.
X-rays that night came back negative, though Ingram was sent for an MRI and did not travel with the team for their road trip. While the Lakers managed to scratch out a victory without their third-year forward, a loss Friday night snapped their four-game winning streak.
Josh Hart was pressed into the starting lineup, but a general consensus was more would fall on the plates of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma while Ingram remains sidelined.
Though, LeBron James explained why he doesn’t view the situation as such, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Expanded roles for those guys? Those guys always have expanded roles. I don’t think they had to pick up their roles. Kuz and ‘Zo, that’s what they do. They have to be more than what their role is. That’s just who they are and they’re OK with that. Other guys just have to step up in B.I.’s absence.”
For Kuzma, he was pushed by the front office to continue developing his overall game after proving to be a potent scorer during his rookie season. It’s entailed more playmaking opportunities and added responsibility on defense.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton recently commended the second-year forward for embracing the challenge of everything that’s been thrown his way. Walton has been similarly effusive about Ball, as he’s played with more aggression of late.
While the expectations and roles may remain unchanged, Kuzma (39 minutes), Ball (38) and James (37) were among four starters who played at least 36 minutes in the loss; the other being Hart.