The Lakers suffered a disappointing, though not fully unexpected loss on Monday to the Grizzlies in Memphis. It was disappointing because the Grizzlies are not a good team and the Lakers looked generally listless, falling behind by 20 some odd points in the 2nd half.
The loss was not unexpected, though, because the Lakers played without Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, two of their best and most important players. The Lakers are now in Oklahoma City for a game vs. the Thunder on Wednesday and desperately want good news regarding their starting point guard and small forward.
Verdict? Half and half. From Mike Trudell at Lakers.com:
The Lakers will likely get one of their two No. 2 overall picks back for Wednesday’s game in Oklahoma City.
Brandon Ingram (mild left ankle sprain) was able to go through Tuesday’s practice, while Lonzo Ball (minor left knee sprain) was not, which suggests that Ingram will go and Ball will not.
While the Lakers are leaving room for Ingram to still sit out (a return of soreness on Wednesday could do it), Ingram is confident he’ll play and the expectation is he’ll be good to go.
Ball, though, didn’t practice at all and considering the Lakers stance that they prefer players go through a practice before they get back into game action he’s doubtful to return. Which really hurts considering the Lakers are 0-7 in games Lonzo sits out and, in general, lose the verve which makes them such a fun team (even if they lose with him in the lineup).
Expanding on that 0-7 record with Lonzo out, that’s not really a fluke or happenstance based on what some of the metrics say. In the Lakers last 20 games the team has an Offensive Rating of 104.2 when Lonzo is on the court vs. 101.9 when he’s on the bench/hasn’t played. Defensively, the numbers are even better as their Defensive Rating has been 100.2 when Lonzo is on the court vs. 112.7 when he’s on the bench/hasn’t played.
Not all of these numbers are attributed to Lonzo, but I think they speak to a certain impact he’s had even if we adjust for level of competition and other factors which go into on/off numbers or a sample this size. And, as we discussed on our most recent podcast, he was certainly a big part of the team’s 4 game win streak that got snapped in Memphis.
So, even though it is great to get Ingram back, get well soon Lonzo. The Lakers need you.