After getting called out by Lakers head coach Luke Walton for not playing with enough “passion and fire” in the team’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball responded with plenty of both to lead L.A. past the Mavericks in a 107-97 victory.
Not that it was going to be hard for Ball to outdo the 0 points he scored against the Timberwolves, but he looked far better against the Mavericks, demonstrating just how dangerous he can be when he’s aggressive. Ball finished with 21 points, 5 assists and 7 rebounds putting his money where his mouth is after vowing to take on more of the scoring burden for the Lakers.
Luka Doncic wasn’t as stymied by Ingram’s defense as he was in his prior two games against the Lakers — ultimately finishing with 27 points — but Ingram still had one of his better games in a while, despite injuring his ankle in the fourth quarter.
Ingram fought through it to stay in the game, leading the Lakers in scoring with 29 points to go with 6 assists and 2 steals on the night, including a huge layup to put the final nail in the coffin for the Mavericks in addition to several other key passes as defensive plays down the stretch.
It wasn’t just Ingram and Ball, though. Michael Beasley stepped up to give the Lakers some scoring spark with 13 points in nine minutes off the bench, while Josh Hart had his best game in weeks with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. JaVale McGee also contributed some key rim protection and dunks in the fourth quarter to finish the game with 8 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lakers are still going to struggle at times without LeBron James. That’s just how things go on a superstar-centric team. But when they play with the effort, intensity and pace they managed in Dallas, it gives them an actual chance to have a competitive fight even if they’re dealing with injuries.
With James not set to be reevaluated until Friday, the Lakers will put that theory to the test again on Wednesday when they host the Pistons at Staples Center.
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