Lakers Coach Luke Walton declared his allegiances before the Lakers' exhibition game in Las Vegas. He roots for the Chargers, his hometown NFL team. He roots for the Dodgers while also hoping one day his hometown Padres become relevant again. And, of course, he always wants the team he coaches to win.
Walton got two out of three Thursday night as the Chargers beat the Broncos and the Dodgers beat the Nationals in game five of their series to advance to the NLCS. Walton's squad attempted a comeback, but never quite got there.
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers' 116-104 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
1. Brandon Ingram is getting more comfortable. The rookie was aggressive and shot a lot better Sunday than he had in previous games. Ingram's shooting percentage is still low among rookies, but neither he nor the Lakers are especially concerned by that right now. They know he is still adjusting to the NBA game. Ingram had two rebounds, two assists and seven points on three-for-seven shooting.
2. Defense took a back seat on Thursday night, especially early in the game. The Lakers especially struggled with Sacramento's Anthony Tolliver, who made all seven of his three-point attempts.
3. And speaking of defense, one positive defensively was that the Lakers fouled much less than they normally do. They sent the Kings to the line for 19 free throws. This pleased Walton to some extent, though he quipped: "I think we need to realize not fouling doesn't mean just let them shoot." He added: "There's a line where you still play aggressive defensively, you just do it without fouling."
4. D'Angelo Russell's 11 assists led the team, but overall they had 31. The ball movement was good and another thing Walton stresses.
5. Ingram played a little bit of power forward when the Lakers went to a small lineup that included point guard Jose Calderon, guard Lou Williams and forwards Nick Young and Larry Nance Jr. It's the position he played in college. Said Ingram: "I could have made some adjustments while I was in the game, but I'm just taking advantage of that 4 position when I see an opening."