The young Los Angeles Lakers fought admirably against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, but eventually succumbed in overtime, 127-123.
Brandon Ingram was the star of the night for the Lakers, totaling a career-high 32 points through a diverse display of drives, jumpers, and filling the wing in transition.
“Brandon was locked in all day today. You saw it at shoot-around,” said Luke Walton.
The Warriors typically switch all screens, and Ingram exploited the foot speed of their big men in such situations, utilizing a combination of hesitation and crossover dribbles to get to the basket time and time again. He had a chance to win the game in regulation on such a play, with the score tied at 109 with 5 seconds left, but Draymond Green rotated over and the thwarted the attempt as a secondary defender.
“I was just trying to attack, trying to draw a foul. I probably could’ve gotten to the elbow and shot the jumper, but also, I might’ve had Julius on the back end,” Ingram said regarding his final attempt of the 4th quarter.
Ingram’s 7 turnovers were the lone blemish in an otherwise sterling performance by the blossoming 20-year old, so such introspection in how to read secondary defenders portends well for his continued development. The next step for him likely involves reading that situation a bit sooner, and moving the ball to a teammate who’s defender has left him to give Ingram extra attention.
The Warriors flashed their veteran mettle in overtime, with Steph Curry splashing down two three-pointers in the opening possessions to put the Lakers behind for good, scoring 13 of his 28 points in the extra frame. While he struggled in regulation, his gravity still impacted the game throughout, as Golden State’s screen-setters slipped to the basket as the collective shooting threat of Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson occupied the Lakers’ defense.
Lonzo Ball (15 points, 10 assists) had a strong performance in his first matchup against Curry, which included a scoring flurry in the 3rd quarter that electrified the Staples Center crowd. Trading punches in a competitive game with the best team in the world can’t do anything but hasten not only his development, but that of the entire team. These small – if only moral – victories maybe not show up in the standings at this point, but bode well for the second half of the season and beyond.
Up Next: The Lakers have a quick turnaround, facing the short-handed Denver Nuggets on Saturday night at 5:00pm on Spectrum SportsNet.