Ingram's Defense Draws Rave Reviews in Victory Versus Boston
Two minutes into the latest edition of Lakers-Celtics, Kyrie Irving drove down the baseline for one of his signature reverse layups.
The all-star guard ascended for his crafty finish, hardly expecting the long right arm of Brandon Ingram to shoot up and stifle him at the rim.
”Being guarded by Brandon Ingram most of the game, I can’t even lie to you guys, those guys on the defensive end are unusual,” Irving told reporters. “Driving lanes that I see against every other team, they were closing down the lane.”
Irving is one of the shiftiest point guards in the league — a supreme challenge for defenders at his own position, much less a small forward like Ingram.
But the 21-year-old has taken a huge leap on the defensive side this season, particularly by using his 7-foot-3 wingspan to cut off lanes and contest shots.
Irving received more than just a taste of this, as he shot just 2-of-7 with two turnovers when guarded by Ingram in Thursday’s win.
“His defensive effort on Kyrie — who’s nearly impossible to guard — all game long was incredible,” coach Luke Walton said.
Defense, of course, is a team task, and Ingram’s fellow Lakers helped keep Irving to a quiet (by his standards) night. He put up 24 points and eight assists with 10 free throws made, but shot just 6-of-21 from the field.
Likewise, Ingram also helped in other defensive areas, including switching onto other players like Marcus Smart.
But the tone was clearly set in the Ingram-Irving matchup, as the lengthy Laker hustled after the speedy Celtic and forced him into tough shots all night long.
"His defense throughout the night on Kyrie and a lot of those guys was exceptional,” LeBron James said.