LOS ANGELES — 10 years in the making, Andre Ingram took the court in an official NBA game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers fell short to a 105-99 loss, but it was a performance from Ingram that was much more than he can ever imagine in his first appearance dropping game-high 19 points off the bench shooting an efficient 6-of-8 from the field including 4-of-5 from 3-point range with three rebounds, three blocks, an assist, and a steal in 30 minutes of action.
He had begun the game nailing all of three of his first attempts with his first coming on a wing 3-pointer just a couple of minutes in the second quarter where he notched 11 points in the period. Ingram played a heavy load of minutes that saw him hit a huge 3-pointer late in the final couple of minutes of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 102-99, but Los Angeles was unable to close it out.
Despite the Lakers following short in his debut, it was an outing that Ingram couldn’t have pictured happening in his first NBA game.
“I just felt some electricity,” Ingram said. “It was amazing, the crowd and just being here, the lights, it was once in a lifetime.”
Ingram’s 19 points in his debut are the most by a Laker in their first career game since Nick Van Exel scored 23 in 1993. His four made 3-pointers were the most ever for a player debuting with the team.
Head coach Luke Walton voiced after the game that he felt that Ingram couldn’t have played better on a one day’s notice even vouching that he felt the 32-year-old should have taken more shots.
“I don’t think he took a single bad shot,” Walton said. “I think we should have given him the ball more. He took open shots and passed it when the defense closed on him. He gave it all he had defensively.”
Teammates came away quite impressed by what Ingram accomplished that, especially rookie point guard Josh Hart, who had spent four years at Villanova before heading to the NBA last summer.
“Being a four-year player,” Hart said via Ryan Ward of ClutchPoints. “Playing 10 years in the D/G League. Getting your opportunity. He made the most of his opportunity. Honestly, it was a tough loss, but I mean, that’s why you love basketball.”
Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul also voiced much admiration and respect for the commitment that Ingram has displayed to get to this point.
“I told him I heard about his story and that grind is unbelievable,” Paul said. “I told him much respect. Ten years grinding in the G League, finally get an opportunity and to play like that, that’s pretty special.”
This also received a reaction from future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant taking to social media to express praise toward Ingram’s huge performance.
LOVE IT https://t.co/H80FOjRuhm
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 11, 2018
Although there is just one more game left in the regular season without a trip to the playoffs, Walton is hoping that his team can come away with a greater appreciation for the type of hard work that it takes to play in the NBA.
“I think the guys can take a lot from it,” Walton said. “To see him fight for it. Nothing is given to you. You fight for it.”
Bob Garcia IV
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