Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James heaped praise on Brandon Ingram after the Los Angeles Lakers earned their first preseason win. In this picture, James #23 of the Lakers is congratulated by his teammate Ingram #14 and Josh Hart #3 after scoring a basket and getting fouled against Sacramento Kings during the first half at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Oct. 4, 2018. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

LeBron James heaped praise on Brandon Ingram after his 31 points helped the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night for their first preseason victory.

The Lakers had lost their previous two preseason games to the Denver Nuggets as they continue to be a work in progress, but despite a slow start in the first quarter where they trailed 39-32, they were able to bounce back to a high-scoring 128-123 win.

James played 16 minutes and finished the game with 18 points, two rebounds and four assists while Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart each bagged 17 points. However, it was Ingram who stole the show with a team-high 31 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes of action.

Ingram's performance drew praise from many, including James who tweeted about it after the game before speaking to reporters in detail about the 21-year-old forward's potential.

"I thought he [Ingram] was great, I think he was great all game and not just in the second half," James said after the game. "His pace, his ability to play a point, play the wing. He's just a very special talent and we're definitely happy to have him on our side."

When asked how his relationship with Ingram has developed since joining the Lakers earlier this summer, the 33-year-old added: "It's growing more and more everyday, I know what I see in him and he's looking for this opportunity to make the next jump in his third year so there's a lot of upside in that kid and I'm happy to give him as much as I can."

James has always thought highly of Ingram and was reported to have been okay with no second star arriving this year alongside him with the latter's "borderline All-Star potential" being a big factor.

As for Ingram, he stated his confidence is only growing.

"My confidence continues to grow as I continue to play," Ingram said after the game. "I see the game slowing down, my teammates believe me in, they give me confidence from the bench from my teammates to the basketball floor. Every day I go out there and try to be better than yesterday."

Getting praise from the best player in the league in James also helps motivate Ingram and makes him want to improve even further.

"It does but it makes you want to keep going on, like I said, my expectation is way higher than anyone's expecation in this room," Ingram added. "He [James] takes so much attention of you, I've been way more efficient in scoring, he gives me more energy on the defensive end just to guard my guy, getting the pass and just trying to start offense from the defensive end."

The Lakers continue their preseason against intercity rivals Los Angeles Clippers at the Honda Center on Saturday. Their 2018/19 NBA season kicks off against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 17.