With the injuries the Los Angeles Lakers have incurred over the past couple of months, Kyle Kuzma stepping up and leading the team isn’t much of a surprise. Channing Frye and Tyler Ennis on the other hand, is a different story.
Kuzma led the way with 30 points, and the Lakers got 43 from their bench, including 19 points from Frye as they ended a three-game losing streak with a 122-112 overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs.
The victory gave the Lakers a 3-0 season sweep of the Spurs, who dropped back-to-back games in Los Angeles in the midst of an extremely tight Western Conference playoff race. And Kuzma was once again the catalyst for the young Lakers.
He played 44 minutes on the night and scored the team’s first five points in overtime to get them off to a great start. He hit 11-of-23 from the field and went 5-for-9 from 3-point range, but he was far from alone.
Frye’s 19 points were huge for the Lakers, and he missed just one of nine shots from the field. Coincidentally, it was a wide-open slam dunk. “I told him he’s not allowed to dunk anymore,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton quipped.
“That’s the only shot he missed all night, was his dunk. You could tell by the windup he had no chance of making that.”
L.A. also got 10 points and eight rebounds from Ennis, eight points and 10 rebounds from Josh Hart, and eight points, six rebounds and six assists from Ivica Zubac.
The game was tightly contested throughout, with neither team ever able to pull away. The Lakers had a chance to win in regulation, but Hart just missed a contested layup, sending the game to the extra period.
The Spurs were led as usual by LaMarcus Aldridge who finished with 28 points and nine rebounds. Dejounte Murray added 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Spurs who were outscored 41-25 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
In what was a surprising move, Walton chose to stick with his four bench players alongside Kuzma for the majority of the fourth quarter, and they didn’t let him down. The only change in overtime came in the form of Caldwell-Pope, who had 21 points, six rebounds and six assists, checking in for Frye.
The Lakers had issues on the defensive glass for the third straight game, allowing the Spurs to collect 15 offensive rebounds. They were able to make up for it from deep however, hitting 13-of-24 from 3-point range. The Lakers were also 15-for-18 from the free throw line.
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