Brook Lopez and Julius Randle have been dominating teams inside the paint for some time now, and it looks like the fourth quarter is starting to become Kyle Kuzma’s favorite.
Lopez led the Los Angeles Lakers with 22 points, Randle had another double-double, and Kuzma took over down the stretch in a 103-93 win against the Dallas Mavericks. Kuzma finished with 18 points off the bench, with 10 of those coming in the fourth quarter.
The reason Kuzma came off the bench was because Brandon Ingram returned for the first time in 12 games. Though he was on a minutes restriction, playing just 23 total, Ingram looked fluid in finishing with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Things weren’t all good for the Lakers, however, as sloppy play hindered what was an excellent offensive start. The team shot 70 percent in the first quarter, but found themselves trailing by two points due to five turnovers in the first 12 minutes.
It got worse to start the second half as the Lakers fell behind by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, but they immediately responded with a 16-0 run and grabbed a two-point lead headed to the fourth.
After a slow start in the final quarter by both sides, the Lakers grabbed control thanks to their defense, holding the Mavericks to just 12 points in the fourth.
Things weren’t completely perfect as Lonzo Ball left the game in the third quarter with a knee contusion. It doesn’t look to be serious, but it is the same knee that kept Ball out for six weeks earlier this season. He will undergo an MRI on Thursday as a precaution.
Up next for the Lakers is a visit from the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Milwaukee Bucks who are looking to solidify their playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Lakers are hoping for a nice run to end what’s been a promising season.
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