Brandon Ingram passes the ball against the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 2, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Ingram's Passing, Hart's Rebounding Lead Lakers to Win

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

You’ve got a 6-foot-9 small forward dropping dimes and a 6-foot-5 shooting guard gobbling up rebounds.

It was a bit odd, but it was also the recipe for a Lakers victory, as Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart led the purple and gold to a 102-99 win over Brooklyn.

With Lonzo Ball approaching his third week of absence due to injury, the Lakers (20-31) turned away from their traditional point guards and had Ingram serve as the starting playmaker.

The move certainly amped up the offense, as Ingram piled up 16 points, a career-high 10 assists and eight rebounds, while committing only two turnovers.

“We talked to him this morning about the idea of starting him at the point, but we needed him to tell us he wanted that challenge,” coach Luke Walton said. “And we needed to know that he’d push the pace for us. He said he was up for both.”

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Walton kept the playbook simple for Ingram, who had some nice playmaking via pick-and-rolls and drive-and-kicks.

But the coach felt that Ingram — who has spot started at point guard before — was able to find his success by attacking on fast-breaks.

“Last time he was trying to be more of a traditional point guard and call plays,” Walton said. “Tonight it was more: ‘Just give me the ball, I’m gonna fly up the court and let’s play basketball.’

“That really allowed him to do what we’ve said he does best all year, and that’s make decisions as they come. Not predetermine if he’s gonna shoot. Not predetermine if he’s gonna pass. Just see what the defense is doing and make reads.”

Ingram shot just 5-of-14 from the field, but did a nice job finishing through contact at the hoop. He connected on four and-1s, showing an individual attack that also opened up his passing.

“I knew if I was aggressive to the rim that I’d have some shooters on the wing to kick out to,” Ingram said. “I think that got contagious tonight the way we were moving the basketball.”

Meanwhile, Hart was a pest on the glass, scoring 15 points while grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds.

Three of his boards came on the offensive end, as he jokingly compared himself to one of the greatest rebounders in league history.

“I was channeling my inner Charles Barkley — undersized guy,” Hart said.

But Chuck couldn’t shoot 3-pointers like Hart, who canned three triples and also did a nice job attacking the basket.

It was a nice bounce back for Hart, who had averaged just 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in his previous seven games.

“His physical presence was great tonight for us,” Walton said. “I feel like he had gotten away from that a little bit the last week or so. For whatever reason, he picked it up again tonight.

Hart helped the Lakers to a huge 18-5 advantage on the offensive glass. Julius Randle was also key on the boards.

The fourth-year pro bullied his way to 19 points and snagged himself a dozen rebounds.

It was also a big homecoming for Brook Lopez, who put up 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting in his return to Brooklyn.

A nine-year Net and the leading scorer in franchise history, Lopez found his groove with an inside-out mix of post-ups and three 3-pointers.

He scored 12 points in the third quarter alone, but his biggest bucket came in the fourth.

The Nets (19-34) had cut the Lakers’ lead to one with three minutes left when Ingram found Hart for a corner trey.

Brooklyn then responded with a pair of free throws, but Lopez sunk his former team with a driving hook shot.

Notes
The Nets ran a tribute video for Lopez at the end of the first quarter. … Brooklyn was led by Spencer Dinwiddie (23 points) and Jarrett Allen (20). … The Lakers had a 15-5 advantage in fast-break scoring. … An audience of 17,732 sold out Barclays Center.

#LakersWin in Brooklyn

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