Brandon Ingram delivered a big performance on Friday to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a victory over his former team, Los Angeles Lakers. Ingram scored 29 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists as the Pelicans claimed a 114-111 win over the Lakers.
Before the game, the Pelicans went through a good portion of their shootaround in the dark at Crypto.com Arena. It provided a spark of motivation for the Pelicans to go out and beat the Lakers. "They didn't turn the lights on," Pelicans head coach Willie Green said, per ESPN.
"We talked to our guys about and we were like, 'Look, we've all played with the street lights out before. So let's get after it.' I think it motivated us." After a big performance, Ingram insisted he didn't take it as personal as his coach did.
"I ain't take it as personal as him," Ingram joked.
Ingram: I like the energy from coach Green
After the game ended and the buzzer sounded, Green was all energetic and high-fiving with coaches and players.
"I like that," Ingram said. "Especially when you get energy from the coach like that. It shows how much he cares. Especially just the burst of emotion like that. It's good for our team. It builds confidence for our team."
With the win over the Lakers, the Pelicans put themselves in a good position to make the play-in tournament. The Pelicans now own a 34-43 record and sit at No. 9 of the Western Conference standings. Meanwhile, the Lakers now stand at 31-46 and sit at No.
11 - one place outside the final play-in tournament spot. The Lakers entered the Pelicans with the must-win mentality but failed to deliver. LeBron James scored 38 points for the Lakers, had eight rebounds and four assists but still it wasn't enough for the Lakers.
"The big picture is that it pretty much was a must-win for us, and we didn't get the job done," said James. "We had great opportunities throughout the night, and we didn't make enough plays down the stretch.
So that's the big picture." It has been that kind of a season for the Lakers. "Just feels like you can't catch a break," James said. "No matter what's going on on the floor, it just feels like the ball bounces the other way.
The ball doesn't always bounce in our favor. Or a call doesn't go in our favor. It's just like, when it rains, it pours for our year. It's just the way it's been going."