Practice Report: Walton On Ingram's Improvement, Shaq Memories
The Lakers originally weren’t scheduled to practice on Wednesday, but head coach Luke Walton reversed course on that decision after his team’s perceived lack of desire in Tuesday’s 133-109 loss to the LA Clippers.
Leading the way at the practice facility was rookie Brandon Ingram, who also had the sharpest performance the night before.
Ingram — who finished first during every sprint on Wednesday — dropped 21 points against the Clippers, extending his double-digit scoring streak to nine games.
Walton delivered a message to his team when it was down by 30 at halftime, benching the entire starting lineup — including Ingram, who was understandably upset with having to sit down while having a solid individual game.
“I told him at halftime, ‘It sucks for you that you have to sit out too, because you’re actually out there playing your tail off,’” Walton said. “‘But we’re gonna continue to preach what we do as a team, and you’re part of that first unit out there. That’s part of your responsibilities: making sure everyone’s ready to play.’
“I thought he was really good last night. It’s unfair that it happened to him with the way that he’s playing, but I thought it was important to keep the message that this is about team first and individuals second.”
Walton said that the Lakers — who fell by just five against the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday — quickly fell behind the Clippers because they came out as if they had won the Cleveland game.
“Maybe that’s partially one me, because after the Cavs game I told them I was really proud of the way they played,” Walton said. “Maybe that (caused them to) let up a little bit on their hunger and desire to get that win. I don’t know but it shouldn’t have been the case.”
With the Lakers unveiling a bronze statue of Shaquille O’Neal outside of Staples Center on Friday, Walton reflected on his rookie year with the legendary big man.
In particular, he recalled O’Neal getting sick of seeing Walton show up to practice in his beat-up 1970 Cadillac from college.
“He told me to bring him the keys one day,” Walton said. “He had a car shop and had his people come pick it up. They fixed it up and pretty much did a ‘Pimp My Ride’ type thing to it.
“The only thing I didn’t like was they put LW on every seat, like all over the place. I’m not really into that, but (O’Neal) made my car real nice.”