Here is what you need to know before the Lakers host the Oklahoma City Thunder.
1) B.I. led the charge last time out
Brandon Ingram is coming off one of his most complete games of the season, having tallied 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in Sunday’s win over Sacramento.
Ingram drew praise from his teammates and coach Luke Walton for his willingness to serve as the team’s primary distributor, handing out a new season-high in dimes.
It was especially necessary for a Lakers team that missed LeBron James for the third straight game.
And when it came down to crunch time, Ingram did it himself, hitting three straight shots to push the Lakers ahead to victory.
Down by 4 with less than 4 minutes left, Brandon Ingram went on a one-man 7-0 run to give the Lakers the lead for good:
• Dodges Fox’s steal attempt with a spinning layup.
• Three crossovers into a mid-range pull-up.
• Steps into the go-ahead triple. pic.twitter.com/bTQjg1Xnu2
— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) December 31, 2018
2) The wings were cooking
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope took his game up a level against the Kings, dropping a season-high 26 points. And Josh Hart joined him with his highest-scoring outing of the season, adding 22 of his own.
KCP was the Lakers’ top threat from deep, hitting five 3-pointers on the night. Meanwhile, Hart added three triples of his own and attacked within the arc as well.
The Lakers will benefit supremely from both players giving an encore, as they face the most formidable defense in the NBA.
with the + pic.twitter.com/lQo0XhBsap
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 31, 2018
3) OKC has firepower on both sides of the ball
The Thunder lead the NBA in defensive rating, as they play airtight and opportunistic ball on that side of the floor.
In fact, Oklahoma City — which also leads all teams in steals — is coming off a 20-point win over Dallas, in which it forced a franchise-record 29 turnovers.
The Thunder’s stars have been at the forefront of this, as Russell Westbrook leads the NBA in steals, while Paul George is second. And both are among the league’s best on the other side as well.
Westbrook also leads the league in assists and, improbably, is on pace to average a triple-double for the third straight season. Meanwhile, George is a top-10 scorer and top-five 3-point shooter, who has two 40-point outings in his last six games.
Lakers: LeBron James (strained left groin) is TBD. Rajon Rondo (right ring finger surgery) and Michael Beasley (personal reasons) are out.
Thunder: Andre Roberson (left patellar tendon) and Alex Abrines (personal) are out.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet in L.A. ESPN nationally.
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Purple Statement
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California
Source: Los Angeles Lakers