Right from the start of the game, something was different about Lakers forward Brandon Ingram.
Ingram was aggressive, he was making the right decisions and his shot was falling.
By the end of the Lakers’ 132-130 win over the Phoenix Suns, Ingram had a career-high 25 points with two rebounds, an assist and a steal. More notably, he made nine of 14 shots, including three of four three-pointers, slaying one issue that had plagued him during his rookie year.
“Kind of me trying to find a rhythm,” Ingram said. “Knowing that I can put the ball in the hole. Taking advantage of some of my matchups. Just trying to think about the defensive game first before I think about the offensive game. I think tonight was a good night for me rhythm wise.”
The game marked a bounce-back game for several players and Ingram was one of them. He made only three of 15 shots in the Lakers’ season opener and finished with 12 points.
“Just continuing to try to get those shots,” Ingram said. “Go back and look at the stuff that I could have did better tonight. I think I could have did better closing out the full court. It’s another confidence booster to keep taking those shots and even when I’m missing them keep taking them.”
Caldwell-Pope to return soon
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be back with the Lakers for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Caldwell-Pope missed the Lakers’ games against the Clippers and Suns because he began the season by serving a two-game suspension for pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Caldwell-Pope was arrested in March and suspended in June.
The guard came to the Lakers in free agency on a one-year deal worth $18 million. He will be the Lakers’ starting shooting guard once he returns to the lineup.
One unexpected casualty of Caldwell-Pope’s two-game suspension has been Ivica Zubac.
The Lakers can keep only 12 players active for game days and NBA rules stipulate that Caldwell-Pope must be one of them. With Lonzo Ball coming off an ankle injury, Lakers coach Luke Walton wanted to make sure to have an extra point guard active. Zubac, the Lakers’ second-year center, became the odd man out, Walton said.
Zubac, who started 11 games for the Lakers last season, was inactive for the Lakers’ first two games.
The Lakers made veteran forward Luol Deng inactive one night after he was part of their starting lineup. Last season, his first with the Lakers, Deng didn’t play after Feb. 26. … Josh Hart saw his first regular-season game action for the Lakers on Friday night. He was inactive during Thursday’s season opener because of bursitis in his left Achilles tendon.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli