Most people tuned into the Lakers and Warriors game for the Steph Curry and Lonzo Ball duel…and some crazy postgame comments from Lonzo’s dad. They got that and they were also treated to an exciting duel of the stickmen (not stickmen by Michael Rapaport’s definition but stickmen as in they could scare crows if they were out in a field): Kevin Durant and Brandon Ingram.
Ingram scored a career-high 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting, 2-of-2 from three and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. He also racked up 5 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks and some high praise from Durant after the game.
“He made the J. He made good decisions. As a player playing against him, I hate to see it, but if I was watching on TV I would be really excited for him.” Said Durant, who finished with a team-high 29 points to go with 7 boards and 5 assists. “You can see he’s learning and getting better and growing as a player. His teammates believe in him and his coaches believe in him. That’s all you really want as a player.”
This wasn’t the first time KD had some nice things to say about Ingram. Here’s what he said back in 2016 after playing with him during Team USA practices: “He reminds me of myself, but he’s a little farther along than I was at that stage. I’m a huge fan. First person I can say I can look in the mirror, look at him and feel like I’m looking in the mirror.”
Earlier this year, during an appearance on the Bill Simmons’ Podcast, KD also said he appreciates the comparisons between him and Ingram.
“I appreciate it. Especially when it’s accurate. Somebody like Brandon Ingram feels like, it looks like he can play like me. We have similar builds.”
He also had this interesting thought about young players and the pressure that comes with being compared to established stars.
“But some of the times it’s alright to compare a guy to Meyers Leonard or Darren Collison when they come into the draft. It’s alright. Those guys are really good players and have made a lot of money. You don’t have to compare them to stars. The expectations, man, that can kill a player. You compare somebody to LeBron James when they’re coming out of high school or college, and you expect them to be LeBron James when they not really gonna be LeBron James. So start comparing these guys to some solid players once in a while.”
And this is probably why Gregg Popovich wasn’t too crazy about KD’s comments about Ingram back in 2016.
“I don’t know what Kevin’s thinking about, but if he said it, he’s got to live with it.” Said Popovich, when asked about the comparison. “Pretty tough to compare someone to Kevin Durant. Almost unfair.He’s something else. We’ll see what time does for both of them.”