On Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers rolled into Staples Center with a daunting task: to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo, who — if the season ended today — would likely be named league MVP, and the Milwaukee Bucks, who hold the best record in the NBA.
It’s something that just 14 other teams in the NBA have been able to do this season and most of those teams were legitimate title contenders. The Lakers, on the other hand, are on the outside looking in of the playoff picture and lost to a pair of bottom-10 teams earlier this week.
Unfortunately, the Lakers were unable to become the 15th team to best the Bucks, as they lost to Milwaukee 131-120. However, they came awfully close and Brandon Ingram was a big part of their efforts.
Ingram literally could not miss in the first half, going 8-8 from the field through the first two frames. He eventually missed his first shot, but still ended the night with 31 points on an efficient 13-21 shooting from the field to go along with 8 rebounds, 2 assists and a block.
Ingram has had a few big games over the past few weeks, but he showed he wasn’t afraid of the bright lights by dominating against the best team in the league. It’s a shame it came in a loss.
Of course, you can’t mention the Lakers without talking about LeBron James.
In 39 minutes for the Lakers, James tallied 31 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists. Ingram was four years old when James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick in 2003.
There are no moral victories in basketball, especially with a team fighting for their playoff lives, but it was a fun game against the best team in the league. It’s not worth anything in the win column, but it was a good indicator of where this team is at mentally.
The Lakers will be back at it tomorrow in Phoenix to take on the Suns. If they show the same fight they did against Milwaukee, they should be in good shape, but as fans have come to learn this season, there’s no guarantees when it comes to this team.