Just a few days ago, the Lakers left Pepsi Center frustrated after a fourth-quarter loss made way for Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray to continue the trash-talking he’s been spewing all season.
But the Lakers made sure to make a lasting impression in their final match-up against the Nuggets in an eventful Tuesday night win.
Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas knocked down 11 of his 17 field-goal attempts against the Nuggets, scoring 23 points to help finally silence Murray.
But that wasn’t enough. Thomas wanted to make sure Murray was aware the Lakers weren’t with any of the smack-talking and instead delivered a smackdown of their own, tossing the ball to the Nuggets guard from all the way across the court to let him know things were done here.
Lmao Isaiah Thomas really threw the ball CLEAR ACROSS THE COURT at Jamal Murray. Legend. pic.twitter.com/UDUekyVMpp
— Antonio F. Irwinho (@AnthonyIrwinLA) March 14, 2018
He wasn’t the only Laker to have enough of Murray’s antics. Julius Randle also made it clear that he was over extracurricular shenanigans Murray had participate in, like trash talking the Lakers’ bench or dribbling around Lonzo Ball as the clock ran down.
Julius Randle on Jamal Murray: "I don't talk to him much. I like the kid, to be honest. We're not for the antics he's had the past couple of games. He's a Kentucky guy, so I'm always going to have that relationship. But this is my team, and I'm not going to let the antics fly."
— Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015) March 14, 2018
Murray didn’t have a win to talk smack about on Tuesday, meaning the roles were reversed, and after Randle was done having words with Murray, the crowd decided it was their turn to give Murray a little taste of what he had been serving.
We have a “Murray Sucks” chant with the Lakers up 7. pic.twitter.com/WIVkQOxsJh
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) March 14, 2018
Murray took the trash-talking and chants in stride as a positive sign of competitiveness.
Jamal Murray on crowd reaction tonight: "I don’t let other people get under my skin. I just play the game. I’m used to trash talking. I used to watch Kobe in this very arena play, playing with Luke Walton. So I see where Luke got it from. I love playing w/that competitiveness"
— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) March 14, 2018
Both the Lakers and Nuggets are young teams on the fringes of the playoff race, and this is how rivalries build between those types of up-and-coming squads. Lakers fans will probably scoff at the idea of the Nuggets as a rival, but there is real bad blood brewing between these two cores of players, and it could lead to some fun grudge matches with real postseason implications over the next few years if both rosters progress like it appears they will.
To listen to today’s show laughing at Jamal Murray and breaking down one of the most fun wins of the season, listen below and subscribe on iTunes.
Lakers call-up Andre Ingram explains why he never gave up on his NBA dream
Andre Ingram, the development league player who waited for 10 years to be called up by the Lakers, finally got his shot to play alongside the team just before their regular season came to end.
The 32-year-old Lakers rookie played 384 games before he was called up to the stage he had been training so hard to get to 10 seasons before then. He was the 3-point leader with 713 3-pointers over the course of his G League career, and it showed once he debuted in Lakers uniform, scoring 19 points in his 29 minutes on the court against the Rockets.
In an interview on TNT’s Area 21 on Tuesday, Ingram explained why he stuck through tedious years at the development level, all for a shot to get to the NBA.
“I thought about it often to be honest. During those 10 years, there were some years I was like you know maybe we should try something else maybe we should go the overseas route. To be completely honest with you, I just wanted the league. I just did,” Ingram said. “I always felt like that was the most direct route for me to get there. It kept me coming back. I might have gave an excuse here and there, truth is I wanted to be here. I just felt that was the direct route and I just kept at it.”
Despite having numerous offers to pursue a career overseas, Ingram described how once the offers began to dry up, he knew his only choice was to stay in the D-League if he wanted even a close shot at making it in the NBA.
“At some point I didn’t have any other choice, I had passed up so many overseas deals and they weren’t coming in like that anymore. At one point I was mad at the D-League, but then I needed it, that was the only place I could play. A lot of that stuff kept me coming back and then I got a lot of encouragement from people at home and people who believed in me,” Ingram said.
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Lakers News: Luke Walton thinks Brandon Ingram is on the path to becoming an NBA All-Star
The Los Angeles Lakers have been without sophomore forward Brandon Ingram for their last three games, and 14 of the last 16. But despite missing almost the entire month of March and all of April thus far, head coach Luke Walton has not forgotten the strides Ingram made this season.
In a recent interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, Walton expressed how he believes the forward has taken the steps necessary to appear in an All-Star game one day. This season, Ingram is the third-leading scorer for the Lakers at 16.1 points per game.
“When we were on that road trip, he was putting us on his back,” Walton said. “When the offense was stalling out, he was taking control of situations, coming off of pin-downs, or coming off of high ball screens and being the aggressor … I really think he was starting to feel what that was like and do that consistently.
“That’s what the All-Stars do at our level, is everyone has a ton of talent in this league, but the All-Stars and the best players are the ones that can find a way to do it every single night. And that’s really hard, because of the amount of games we play and the toll it takes on you, but he was starting I think to feel that and play like that consistently.”
Ingram’s numbers have improved considerably across the board this season, averaging nearly seven more points and two more assists while shooting close to 10 percent better from behind the arc than he did in his rookie campaign.
After Adam Silver agreed to alter the All-Star game format this season with the inclusion of team captains drafting their teams, rumors about potentially separating conference from the initial selection process cannot be ruled out, which would add roadblocks to Ingram’s road to the game.
However, until any changes are made, he’d either have to be voted in as a starter by current players, media and fans, or as a reserve by the coach’s vote.
The market for Ingram to enter through fan vote exists in Los Angeles but the forward would have an uphill battle considering the celebrity of teammate Lonzo Ball and, to a lesser extent, Kyle Kuzma.
With names like Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Jimmy Butler coming off the bench in the most recent All-Star game, Ingram would have to take his scoring and facilitating ability to another level for his candidacy in the coach’s vote to be taken seriously in the years to come.
Walton has good reason to believe Ingram has potential to be among the league’s best based on his improvement in his second season, but the forward has a lot work to be done before a fair argument can be made for a spot on the All-Star team.
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NBA Rumors: Former Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak Has Officially Been Offered The Charlotte Hornets GM Job
In an effort to keep the team from falling apart, Los Angeles Lakers governor and president Jeanie Buss decided the organization needed change, and chose to start at the top when she fired general manager Mitch Kupchak and her brother, Jim Buss, who was head of basketball operations.
Over 35 years working under the Los Angeles Lakers weren’t enough to keep Kupchak from getting his walking papers in 2017, and though it was never certain he’d return to basketball, it looks like he’ll soon take the reins of another team for the first time in his career.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Charlotte Hornets have offered Kupchak the opportunity to wear the hat of general manager once again.
The Charlotte @hornets have formally offered their GM post to Mitch Kupchak and are confident they can soon seal a deal with the longtime former Lakers executive, according to league sources.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 2, 2018
Kupchak first joined the Lakers in 1981 before ending his playing career in 1986, when he immediately took the role of assistant general manager in 1987. He stayed in that position for several years before claiming the title of GM from Jerry West in 1994 and later fully taking over basketball operations in 2000. Since then, Kupchak has known no other colors than purple and gold.
With Kupchak as the primary shot-caller, the Lakers won four championships, with back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 and the final two of the team’s threepeat earlier in the decade.
But the Lakers have seen a championship drought since their victory over the Boston Celtics under Kupchak, and it seems that he’s moved on from his forced departure from the team in search of a new opportunity in another organization.
With the Tarheel duo of Kupchak and Hornets owner Michael Jordan running the show, the Hornets may finally be able to bring their first championship to Carolina.
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