Since before Monday’s sunrise in Los Angeles, all anyone has talked about regarding the Lakers has been which players could be traded and when. It’s nothing new for Brandon Ingram, and it certainly didn’t hurt him Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers as a whole, though, battered by injuries, couldn’t offer much more.
Ingram scored a career-high 36 points in the Lakers’ 121-105 loss to the 76ers. Ingram matched his previous high of 32 points by the end of the third quarter. He made 16 of 20 shots, frequently scoring on dunks.
“I was just making shots,” Ingram said. “I’ve shot these shots repetitively over and over in the gym and they were just going in. I’m getting to spots and feeling comfortable in where I’m going to.”
JaVale McGee scored 17 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 12. No other Laker finished in double figures as the team lost for the fourth time in five games.
The trade deadline is Feb. 7 and Ingram’s name recently entered the conversation of young Lakers the New Orleans Pelicans want in exchange for most-valuable-player candidate Anthony Davis. The other players are Ivica Zubac, Lonzo Ball (out because of an ankle injury) and Kyle Kuzma (out because of a hip strain).
LeBron James remained out because of a groin strain, missing his 17th consecutive game. The Lakers are 6-11 without him.
Tuesday’s NBA national television schedule had a sense of humor. The Lakers played the late game on TNT and followed the Pelicans’ game at Houston. Despite Davis missing his fifth straight game with an injured finger, New Orleans upset the Rockets.
Lakers coach Luke Walton said Monday he hadn’t heard players talking among themselves about a potential trade for Davis. Asked about Davis, Josh Hart echoed that thought.
“Who?” Hart asked. “I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t pay attention to the media stuff. I mean, I control what I can control and that’s just going out there every day being a professional.”
“We didn’t recover from our first quarter,” Walton said. “And I was really proud and really happy with the way we fought in the second, the energy we brought, the compete level we were playing with. But that first quarter we didn’t match their physical intensity. We were killing ourselves with turnovers.”
The Lakers cut their deficit to eight in the second quarter, with the help of a 16-0 run. But the 76ers broke that surge with a pair of three-pointers from Wilson Chandler to extend their lead to 14.
Ingram scored 15 points in the second quarter, tying a career high for a quarter. His 22 first-half points set a career high.
“He was great from about halfway through the first on,” Walton said. “But he was one of the guys who had a couple of careless turnovers to start the game. But that to me shows a lot of growth that I can get on him and yell at him about something like that and then he can lock in and then continue to follow the game plan and start to elevate his game as it goes.
“I thought he was doing a really nice job of getting to his spots and being on balanced and not forcing it.”
Though the Lakers threatened to make the game competitive in the second half, they never could. The 76ers’ three-point shooting helped keep them comfortably ahead; they made 15 of 36, the Lakers just seven of 23.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli