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Lakers snap 9-game skid with win over Hawks

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Lakers snapped a nine-game NBA losing streak on Sunday with a 132-113 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Brandon Ingram scored 20 points to lead the Lakers, who hadn't won a game since a December 20 victory over the Houston Rockets.

The victory quieted some of the noise growing around the embattled young team, including comments by outspoken basketball patriarch LaVar Ball — father of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball — who told ESPN that coach Luke Walton had lost the confidence of his players.

"I would disagree with that," Walton said at shootaround on Sunday morning, telling reporters that even as the defeats piled up his players were playing hard.

The difference against the Hawks, Walton said after the much-needed win, was a defensive commitment that set up the Lakers' transition offense.

"I think it triggered everything for us tonight," Walton said. "Once we got engaged and we were crashing back on the glass and able to get out and run … it was good to see the guys get back to that mode where defense anchors what we do offensively."

Lonzo Ball, playing just his second game after missing six with a shoulder sprain, was under scrutiny after his father's latest remarks.

He scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while handing out six assists.

When he departed the game with 2:53 remaining, along with Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle they were cheered by fans — a turnaround from the boos heard during a loss to Charlotte on Friday.

At 12-27 the Lakers remain at the bottom of the Western Conference. But they avoided matching the longest losing streak in franchise history.

Walton, while encouraged, said he wasn't expecting smooth sailing for his young players, but he said insisted their growing pains wouldn't tear them apart.

"The team's been fine," he said. "We've got guys and a group that are still figuring things out. It's nothing new when young teams that are trying to get better go through hard times."

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