Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma and the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t a part of one of the most competitive fights for the final Western Conference playoff spot in recent history, but both made it clear the team still wants to be involved in their final games, even if it’s only as a spoiler of dreams.
“We’ve just got to come in with that Grinch mentality. Try to steal somebody’s thunder. We’re not playing for anything but at the end of the day it’s sweeter if you can ruin somebody’s day,” Kuzma said.
The Lakers couldn’t manage that Friday night as Kuzma went down with a sprained ankle in the loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but they’ll have at least one more chance to do so.
Los Angeles has three games remaining, one of which will come against their cross-hall rival Clippers (who have already been eliminated from postseason contention) and another against the Houston Rockets (who have locked up the best record in the league, but before that they’ll take on the Utah Jazz, who are jostling for playoff positioning).
The Lakers couldn’t beat the Jazz last week, but they still want to give their best to ruin Utah’s day one more time in the rematch. And even to beat the last two teams on their docket, because they owe the game they love that much.
“We have to. We have to finish the season out right. I always talk about treating the game with respect, so we have to do that and find the energy to do so,” Randle said.
If Kuzma misses much time and/or Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram don’t return from their injuries the Lakers might not have a chance in their final three games, but the team isn’t thinking like that.
They’re just ready to give their best effort towards winning with whoever is left still standing.