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Lakers’ Brandon Ingram accepts coach’s challenge to fill in at point with Lonzo Ball out

By in Press Enterprise on February 4, 2018

By Bill Oram

OKLAHOMA CITY — Luke Walton had asked his small forward to make the shift to point guard before. He had long been romanced by the idea of possessions starting in the gifted hands of the 6-foot-9 Brandon Ingram, a prototype for the generation of positionless basketball.

But before Walton went to that well again on Friday, Ingram had to pass one test.

“We needed him to tell us he wanted that challenge,” Walton said following the Lakers’ 102-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. “And we needed to know that he’d push the pace for us.

“He said he was up for both.”

Ingram nearly notched a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in 36 minutes.

“I think right now he’s about to pass out,” Larry Nance Jr. quipped.

Ingram experienced groin tightness after the win and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s nationally televised game against Oklahoma City. However, with Lonzo Ball sidelined for the immediate future, Ingram gives the Lakers another option at the most important position on the court.

And it seemed to help Ingram. Walton suggested that the second overall pick from two years ago has been somewhat timid since sitting out two games earlier this month due to a sprained ankle.

“We just wanted him to be more engaged in what we’re doing,” Walton said. “And put more pressure on the other team’s defense.”

Ingram averages 15.6 points per game and is the Lakers’ most lethal scorer, and presents defenders with a choice.

“He gets in the paint and all eyes turn toward him defensively,” Nance said. “So, he kicks it out, it’s there and the defense is automatically in scramble mode.”

His 3.6 assists per game mostly come out of halfcourt sets with him on the wing, where he is considered a skilled playmaker. Against the Nets, Walton was betting that those […]    

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