After the Los Angeles Lakers were demolished by the Minnesota Timberwolves, dropping to 1-5 without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, head coach Luke Walton called out Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. Walton criticized them for not playing with enough passion, which led to a serious discussion between the two young cornerstones.
Since then, Ball and Ingram have each put together two quality performances in back-to-back wins for the Lakers, keeping them solidified in the Western Conference playoff race. “Just playing with a lot more energy,” Ball said of the recent shift for he and Ingram.
“We’re playing like we’re leaders on this team right now.” Ball said. “We’re trying to lead the charge and get the wins. That talk helped us a lot.”
After a solid win on the road against the Dallas Mavericks, Ball wanted to make sure the team came out with the same fire against the Pistons, leading to their victory. “We just all played together,” he said. “We got a good win in Dallas that we wanted to piggyback on and that’s what we did. We came together and got a good victory tonight.”
With the back-to-back wins in the books, the Lakers are now 3-5 without James and Rondo. But now, Ball seems to have a better grasp on what the team needs from him in the absence of their two leaders.
“For sure. We’ve got to carry the load while they’re out.” Ball said. “Obviously, we want them back as soon as possible but we’ve got to hold the ship down while they’re not here.”
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