The Los Angeles Lakers have now played nine meaningful games within the Walt Disney World bubble, and they have found themselves in a horrible slump from three-point range. With the exception of Kyle Kuzma, it seems that no one can consistently make shots from distance.
As a result it’s put the Lakers in a 1-0 series deficit against the eight-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. Game 1 against the Trail Blazers was one of their worst shooting performances of the season.
L.A. went 5-of-32 from three, including a combined 2-for-18 from Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Anthony Davis. That 15.6% from behind the arc is the second-lowest in NBA history in a game with over 30 attempts.
Kuzma couldn’t definitively state if depth perception in the bubble is causing issues, but knows that there can’t be excuses at this point. “I’m not really sure. I feel like it’s a little bit easier to shoot in this gym,” Kuzma said.
“There’s no depths, it’s black behind it, it’s kind of like that high school or college gym type of feel, to an extent. It’s all about confidence. You can’t make excuses with depths, backdrops, bubble. Got to hit shots.”
Despite continued lackluster performances from three, Kuzma still believes they have time to fix it. “I think so. We’ve got shooters. It’s all about rhythm and confidence. I think coming out of the gate, first playoff game, a lot of anxiety and that rush to play,” he said.
“If we can just calm down and take our time, because the shots are going to be there all series. They want to crowd the paint, so we have to hit shots. You’ve got to erase your memory. That’s part of being confident. If you miss 10 in a row or make 10 in a row, you’ve got to forget about them and keep shooting.
“I like to say just shoot until you get hot. I think we have that capability.”
The Lakers no longer have time to waste to break out of their slump. If they can’t score points against the worst defense in the NBA Playoffs, they won’t be able to do it against better teams.
Kuzma knows what to fix and how to fix it before Game 2
The Lakers have until Thursday to figure something out, or they’ll fall behind 2-0 against the No. 8 seed. Kuzma is aware of what needs to be fixed and is confident it can be done.
“For sure. We’ve just got to know what we did wrong, what we can execute on better and just erase the game. Every game is every other day, so if we’re able to play with spirit, that’s the biggest thing.”
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