(photo credit: LA Times)
by Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 19-point deficit for a 111-106 win over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. With the Lakers currently just one game back of the Sacramento Kings and 2.5 games back of the Los Angeles Clippers in the eight seed, James went into ‘playoff mode’ a bit early than normal for this time of year. While the Lakers ran the Bel-Air offense with James in the fourth quarter, they also got a much needed boost from Brandon Ingram who finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
James finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds in the much needed win. While all eyes were on James, he made sure to give credit to Ingram whom he called “very special”.
“He wasn’t a wing man for me. He was special for our team. BI is very special and when he’s rebounding like that it just activates the rest of his game,” James said.
“He did a great job of rebounding. He did a great job of getting his free throws and being in attack mode all game.”
There should be no concern about Ingram’s development, being aggressive all night while maintaining the flow of the offense. Though Ingram has struggled at times this season, if there is any indication that Ingram is on the cusp of arriving to the talent level many believe he has, then the win against Houston was a promising expose of this rising star. James truly inspired and fueled his teammates with his “playoff mode” mentality, and if the team keeps the same mind state, then the post season will look closer and closer in their reach instead of a distant dream.
*Kyle Kuzma finished with 18 points and six rebounds in 38 minutes, and new comer Reggie Bullock made a splash in his Lakers home debut, as he finished with 14 points and shot 50% from three point land.