The Los Angeles Lakers got back on track in the finale of a two-game road trip and second night of a back-to-back, defeating the Dallas Mavericks for the third time this season to snap a three-game losing streak.
With LeBron James and Rajon Rondo still sidelined with respective injuries, Lakers head coach Luke Walton challenged Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to play with more passion after recent lackluster performances against the New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Both members of the Lakers’ young core successfully lived up to the task. Ingram led the way with a season-high 29 points while Ball added 21 of his own to go along with 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.
After the win, Ball credited a conversation he had with Ingram that led to the two bouncing back against the Mavericks, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Me and B.I. had a good talk [Sunday] and both of us came out ready to play. … Just that we’ve got to step up and be a lot better if we want to win games. The performance [against Timberwolves] is not going to get it done. It starts with us, especially when ‘Bron and Rondo are out. If we don’t come out ready to play, then the whole team is going to feed off of that.”
Ingram further praised Ball for setting the tone and creating opportunities for his teammates:
“Just to have growth, see what we can do to better our team with the guys out. Try to take over and be the leaders of our team. Our point guard is our leader. He makes everything happen. Tonight, he did a really, really good job of pushing the pace and he got us in all our sets. When he did that, I think guys followed.”
With their backs against the wall, it was certainly encouraging to see both Ball and Ingram take control and play up to their respective high ceilings.
The win could prove momentous for the Lakers, as they now return home for a Wednesday matchup against the sub.-500 Detroit Pistons looking to build on their success in Dallas.
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