The Los Angeles Lakers were in good spirits at Thursday’s practice, after bringing home the overtime victory against John Wall and the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, in what was their best defensive effort of the season.
Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram both stuck out as having strong finishes in the victory, and after head coach Luke Walton mentioned the jawing between Kelly Oubre Jr. and Ingram, that became a topic at practice. Walton said out of all the players on the squad, Ingram is the one who plays noticeably better when he’s angry.
The challenge becomes how to tap into that mentality when he’s not provoked. There’s plenty more from Walton, Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope below.
Walton on what they can do to get Ingram to tap into that extra gear: “Make it something that we point out when he’s not playing like that, and when he is playing like that. For him to have the awareness and hopefully recognize it himself where he doesn’t need us to and then besides that, we can yell at him, we can pull him out of the game, make him pissed at us. There’s ways to manipulate situations to make players angry so if he doesn’t find that awareness, we’ll make him hate us until he does.”
Walton on Ingram’s ability (and desire) to be a closer: “He definitely has that ability and we have that confidence in him to make those kinds of plays…He definitely wants it, 100%, he wants it. Some people, you feel like they say they want it, but in their eyes you can tell, they’re just saying that because they’re supposed to say it. Brandon he truly wants those types of moments.”
Walton on Corey Brewer: “He’s a true professional, he practices every single day like it’s a game, he runs the lanes harder than anybody. He’s such a great example for our young guys and when we compete, he gets into people, he rips them.”
Walton on Ingram playing angry: “When he’s angry and he’s really locked in at what he’s doing, you can see a difference in his ability and the plays he makes on both ends of the floor.”
Ingram on what’s going through his mind when he’s in another gear: “I don’t think I’m thinking at all, I’m just in the zone, just doing everything that I can do, trust my teammates, try to get a stop on defense…I want to block everything out, and only worry about what’s in between those lines.”
Ingram on wanting to be the Lakers closer: “I hope to be. Every single day, just working on different shots where I can put myself in that situation, of course that’s something I want to be for this team.”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the Lakers defense: “I thought we were all clicking on defense last night, helping each other, like a chain reaction, one pulled over and we all pulled over.”
– Ingram said Brewer is probably the teammate that knows how to get under his skin the most in practice (in a good way).
– Walton was very complimentary of Randle’s defensive plays (especially his switches), and offensively thought he had a couple nice drives that were great looks with aggressive moves and the right reads of what the defense was giving
– Walton pointed out what a dynamic roller Randle is when he’s in with their small lineup
– The Toronto Raptors are on a two-game losing streak, so they’ll likely give the Lakers all they’ve got tomorrow night
– Caldwell-Pope said one thing he’s working on this season is improving his decision-making
– Coaches have been on Randle a lot about setting the right (and hard) screens and Randle had made a lot of improvement in that area