The Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz played something that loosely resembled a basketball game Friday at Staples Center, and while the Lakers didn’t lose the game, saying they won feels inaccurate.
Playing a nationally televised basketball game the day after Thanksgiving should be illegal, but somehow it’s not and fans had to watch 48 minutes of highly trained athletes trying to remember how to play basketball. The Lakers outscored the Jazz 90-83 and therefore won the contest.
Brandon Ingram looked the most like a basketball player on Friday, scoring 24 points, tied for his season-high, on 8-14 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers. Ingram did a great job of picking his shots and not settling for contested mid-range jumpers. That’s not to say he didn’t take mid-range jumpers, but when he did it was because he had a clear mismatch.
You see, Ingram’s issues have less to do with his assertiveness on the offensive end and more to do with the decisions he makes with the ball. If he can build on the progress he made Friday, he’ll have more big nights like he did against the Jazz.
LeBron James also figured it out in the fourth quarter, scoring 22 points in addition to 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. James had 4 points in the first half. It’s almost as if he can turn it on whenever he wants.
Lonzo Ball continued to assert himself on offense on Friday, and the offense looked more fluid as a result. For the second game in a row, all five starters finished with a positive box plus-minus.
His shots still aren’t falling with any consistency, but if he stays aggressive on offense, it makes it harder for him to disappear in games. It’s only been a couple of games, but it looks like he’s figured this out as well.
The Lakers will be back at it on Sunday when they host the Orlando Magic in L.A. The Magic blew the Lakers out last week in Orlando, so expect L.A. to put up more resistance this time around.
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