Brandon Ingram couldn’t narrow down what he missed the most as he spent the previous four games unable to play with his team.
For three games he watched with Rajon Rondo, who also was suspended. Then Saturday night, Ingram was all alone in San Antonio, serving the final game of a suspension that stemmed from his part in a fight with Houston during the Lakers’ second game.
“Shoot the basketball,” Ingram said when asked what he missed most. He laughed and added: “Just being with my teammates. Just being around, playing basketball, period. Being in the practice, being in shootaround, game prep.”
Ingram went right back into the starting lineup Monday at Minnesota, but at shooting guard. He played 25 minutes and scored 24 points, 17 coming in the first half.
“My conditioning was well,” Ingram said. “I think I got a chance to get up and down. I didn’t feel tired out there. … I think [assistant] Brian Keefe and the rest of the guys and the rest of the coaches did a good job just trying to keep me in game shape.”
Ingram added three blocked shots, two assists and five rebounds.
More fouling woes
The Lakers have been frustrated by fouling. They have been frustrated with officials for what they believe to be unfair calls at times. At other times, they have been frustrated with themselves for failing to defend and sending the other team to the line.
On Monday night the Timberwolves shot twice as many free throws as the Lakers did: 30 to 15, outscoring them by 16 at the line. That is the trend through the Lakers’ five losses that most concerns coach Luke Walton.
“It’s hard. When you’re talking about defense, it’s the fouling,” Walton said. “It’s hard to win games when you’re putting another team on the line 30 times.”
Ingram committed three fouls in the first half, and his foul trouble kept Walton from being able to use his starting lineup as much as he wanted.
“But some of them, just reaching in when you shouldn’t reach in, or you’re out of position defensively, you give an opportunity for a call to be called. But we gotta be better at that.”
Reminisce on Rondo
Timberwolves Coach Tom Thibodeau was part of the coaching staff in Boston when Rondo played for the Celtics and he shared his memories.
“Rondo was very stubborn in a good way,” Thibodeau said. “We had three Hall of Famers and he was probably in his second year and he let everyone know that, like he was running the team. The thing that amazed me that year, we had three prolific scorers — Ray [Allen], Paul [Pierce] and Kevin [Garnett] — but some of the passes that he made, to see the game the way that he saw the game, that really is a gift.
“He is an offense unto himself. He can see things, he can get passes that you think have no chance of getting there and not only does it get there but it gets there on target.
“And he has had a terrific career. He got derailed a little bit by injury but wherever he goes, he adds a lot to the team.”
Beasley steps away
Michael Beasley was not with the team for Monday’s game. He flew with the Lakers from San Antonio to Minnesota but then had to leave to tend to a family illness, the Lakers said.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli