After snapping an eight-game losing streak by beating the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers faced a tough task on the second end of a back-to-back Saturday going up against the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers on the road.
Starting point guard D’Angelo Russell sat out the game to rest his injured knee, so rookie Brandon Ingram got the start in his place.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton has used Ingram as a point guard this season, as Ingram can learn the offense quicker if the ball is in his hands and his unique skill set allows it.
Ingram put together an impressive performance against the Cavs, as he had nine points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, just missing out on becoming the youngest player to ever record a triple-double in the NBA. That record is currently held by a player who was on the court with Ingram Saturday, LeBron James.
After the game Walton talked about the play of Ingram, saying that he displayed more confidence on the floor than he has in any other game this season, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
“That’s the best I think [he’s been] and most confident he’s looked all season,” Walton said. “When he was playing point today, he was kind of controlling and demanding the offense and getting people into position and coming off looking not just to shoot every time, but reading how the defenses were playing.”
Ingram also led the team in minutes in the game as he tied his career-high with 41 minutes in the 119-108 loss.
The 19-year-old has struggled to find his shot so far this season, shooting just 34.7 percent from the field, but Saturday night he showed that he could affect the game in ways other than just scoring.