In addition to being familiar with the surroundings Staples Center has to offer, Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram had a leg up on some of his teammates and opponents, as Friday marked his second time playing in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Ingram went into the showcase event with some aspirations of taking home the MVP Award. So too did Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, but neither were successful. Nonetheless, Ingram reveled in the experience, despite it being a third game in as many nights.
“It’s always fun to play basketball,” he said. “I really haven’t gotten any sleep since we left Minnesota, but it’s always fun to come out here and play basketball. I don’t think there’s anything else you’d rather do right now, so I enjoyed it.”
Ingram played 15 minutes, which he said was the target Lakers head coach Luke Walton set for the second-year forward. Ingram scored eight points on 4-for-6 shooting, to go along with three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
The World roster routed Team USA, 155-124, winning the third of four matchups thus far.
With a second and final Rising Stars Challenge under his belt, Ingram is now focused on playing on Sundays during the annual NBA All-Star Weekend. “That’s what you dream of,” he said of reaching an All-Star Game.
“That’s definitely something I want to work towards. Being an All-Star for my team and playing on Sunday, I think it’s going to be really, really exciting.”
While mindful of the goal, Ingram isn’t certain how quickly he may obtain it. “I surprise myself sometimes when I work to the best of my abilities,” he said, seemingly not ruling out 2019.
“If I keep making jumps in the second half, I’ll work my butt off this summer and try to eventually be one next year.”
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