Thunder wing Lu Dort on Brandon Ingram: 'Trying to make everything tough for him'

Apr 21, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) drives
Apr 21, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) drives / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The OKC Thunder took care of business in their opening night playoff matchup against New Orleans on Sunday evening, besting the eighth-seeded Pelicans by a final score of 94-92.

Considering it was the first lick of postseason action for many members of this young Oklahoma City squad, it was rather unsurprising to find that there were a few hiccups and sloppy play along the way.

Of course, for those who have had experience performing under the bright lights of the NBA Playoffs, their contributions proved to be vital, especially veteran wing Lu Dort who was tasked with the tough assignment of shadowing NOLA star Brandon Ingram throughout the contest.

Rising to the challenge, the 25-year-old held the Pelicans forward to just 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting from the floor and forced him into two turnovers along the way.

Following Game 1, Ingram has gone on record praising Dort's defensive excellence, noting that he did a "good job" staying with him during the contest. Now, ahead of Wednesday's Game 2, it appears the Thunder fan favorite has reciprocated in the praise exchange, as he went on to talk up the wing's play during a recent media session.

OKC Thunder wing Lu Dort praises Brandon Ingram's play

"He's a great player. He's gonna make a lot of tough shots. It's not an easy coverage. I got to lock into the game plan [and] I got to watch a lot of film. I'm just trying to make everything tough for him."

Lu Dort

Outside of the showing he put forth during the first matchup of this first-round series, what bodes well for the Thunder wing is that he's continuously managed to shine bright against the league's elites all throughout this year's campaign, as he finds himself leading the league in matchup difficulty, which estimates the difficulty of a player's defensive assignment on average.

Hopefully, Dort can showcase his defensive excellence against Ingram yet again during Wednesday's bout and, in turn, help lead Oklahoma City to a 2-0 series lead before heading out to the Big Easy for Game 3.