After a bit of a slow start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers are starting to play some very good basketball. As winners of seven of their last eight games, the Lakers are beginning to have a set rotation and getting used to playing with each other.
One of the reasons why they have been playing much better is because of the defense. Since signing Tyson Chandler, the Lakers’ defense has been really strong with the ability to have a true center on the court at all times.
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Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram shows ability to be leading scorer
In their most recent game against the Utah Jazz, the Lakers were able to outlast the Jazz in a 90-83 slugfest. While that score looks like something we might see at the end of a third quarter, the Lakers were able to beat the Jazz at their own game.
The Lakers entered Sunday having won three straight games overall and four consecutive at the Staples Center. LeBron James had 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds but turned the ball over six times.
Even though there wasn’t a lot of scoring, the Lakers saw one of their young players really have a nice game on the offensive end. Brandon Ingram was able to score 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor. In a game where scoring was nearly impossible, Ingram found a way to lead the team in scoring.
As arguably the best player of the young core, Ingram was expected to be the sidekick for LeBron James this season. So far, Ingram hasn’t really taken a big step forward toward being an All-Star, but he has played well.
In a game where scoring was not easy, Ingram showing the ability to score over 20 points is a sign of the player that he can become. While his averages are similar to what they were last season, Ingram has done a good job and certainly was a key factor in the win over the Jazz.
Even though it was just one game, this was an encouraging sign for Ingram moving forward this season. Hopefully, he can continue to build off this performance.
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Despite knowing that they were facing one of their toughest trips of the season, the Magic didnt have much energy early in Fridays game in Denver and wilted when the Nuggets made runs at them. Offensively, the ball stuck far too often, resulting in 40.5 percent shooting and eight-of-32 accuracy from 3-point range. Also, the Magic were badly whipped on the glass again. In their last two losses to Toronto and Denver – likely playoff squads – the Magic have surrendered 17 and 23 second-chance points after being unable to keep foes off the glass.
Share Share Magic snap Lakers winning streak … again tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports Almost exactly a week after getting blown out by the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Magic again in similar fashion on Sunday at Staples Center.
Much like the game last week, the Lakers came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders, but their energy and effort plummeted after the first quarter, resulting in a 108-104 loss, their eighth defeat of the season.
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Kyle Kuzma and his headband got the Lakers off to a hot start, scoring 13 points and dishing out 4 assists in the first quarter. He ended the game with 21 points on 7-15 shooting from the field.
Now, following a poor start to one of their most daunting road trips of the season, the Magic must prove once again their resiliency in the face of adversity. Making the degree of difficulty even greater is the fact that they will have to do so against four-time MVP LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET) and the Golden State Warriors – champions of the past two seasons – on Monday (9:30 p.m. ET).
Kuzma has struggled to make any meaningful impact in his last few games, so it was nice to see his shots falling. As a result, he was one of only two starters with a positive box plus-minus on Sunday. Brandon Ingram, who contributed 17 points, was the other one.
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Unfortunately, McGee and his headband narrowly missed the cut. In 24 minutes, McGee swatted 7 shots, four short of his career-high. Four of his blocks came in the first six minutes of the game. He also added 12 points and 7 rebounds.
While it was nice to see McGee show his shot-blocking prowess, the amount of shots he had to block at the rim was a product of the Lakers sloppy overall defense. In the last three quarters, the Lakers allowed 100 points.
Free throws were also a huge issue for the Lakers as they made just 20 of their 31 attempts. The Magic made 92.9 percent of their free throws.
The Lakers will travel to the Mile High City to take on the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. The Lakers beat the 121-114 earlier this season.