Lakers hope to have Ingram for game against Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY -- On Friday night in Brooklyn, Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton gave his team a burst of offensive energy by taking out point guard Tyler Ennis and going instead with Brandon Ingram as a point forward.
The result was noticeable in a 102-99 victory over the Nets in which Ennis did not play.
But Walton might have to adjust things again Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder as Ingram, who played more than 36 minutes, is questionable with right groin tightness after scoring 16 points and adding a career-high 10 assists, eight rebounds and only two turnovers.
Ingram received extra treatment after Friday's win, but his status for Sunday hasn't been determined.
If Ingram isn't able to go or if his ability to push the tempo is limited, it could be more difficult to take advantage of an Oklahoma City team still reeling defensively from the loss of Andre Roberson.
Oklahoma City is still trying to find a new normal after Roberson's season-ending injury suffered Jan. 27 in Detroit.
The Thunder won their first full game without Roberson but have dropped three consecutive games since.
Oklahoma City is likely to be active on the trade market ahead of Thursday's deadline. On Saturday, the Washington Post reported that the Thunder had interest in the Los Angeles Clippers' Avery Bradley.
Bradley, a two-time All-NBA defensive player, could slide into Roberson's role, giving Oklahoma City a better defensive option than the current rotation of Terrance Ferguson and Alex Abrines at shooting guard.
Sunday's game will mark the Thunder's sixth in nine days, starting with the Detroit contest.
The schedule doesn't offer much relief in the immediate future either, with the Thunder playing at Golden State on Tuesday before a Thursday return visit with the Lakers in Los Angeles.
"We ran out of gas," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said after Friday's loss to New Orleans. "It was a hard turnaround. I'm not gonna dispute that. ... But I think every NBA team has to deal with it."
Oklahoma City has lost more than three consecutive games one once this season -- dropping four in a row in early November.
Lakers guard Josh Hart had a career-high 14 rebounds in the win over Brooklyn.
"I was channeling my inner Charles Barkley, you know, undersized guys," Hart said. "That was one emphasis Coach Luke talked about -- just go in and just hustle and play hard, and that's just a factor from that."
For Hart and the Lakers, it was a big turnaround from Wednesday's loss in Orlando. He's hoping to sustain the energy, if not the rebounding production.
"Effort I think was the biggest thing," Hart said. "After you get your butt kicked, you know the next game you always bring that effort."
Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball will miss his 10th consecutive game with a sprained left medial collateral ligament. Walton said Ball must return to practice before seeing game action.
Los Angeles returns home after the game to host Phoenix on Tuesday.
Updated February 3, 2018
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