Kyle Kuzma and the Los Angeles Lakers impressed as they were able beat a shorthanded Golden State Warriors team in the second game of a back-to-back situation.
The Warriors came into the game losers of four straight as they have been playing without several of their All-Star players, most notably Stephen Curry who broke his hand earlier in the 2019-20 NBA season. As a result, they trotted out several young lineups that were ill-equipped to handle a rolling Lakers team full of veteran players.
LeBron James continued his outstanding play as he recorded a double-double (23 points and 12 assists) in only 26 minutes of game action. The Lakers centers also put in work as JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard combined for 33 points and 25 rebounds.
One of the most encouraging takeaways from the game was Kuzma as he looked more like the scorer most were expecting to see heading into the new season. He discussed how he has been able to get more comfortable within the offense.
“Just playing basketball. I think that’s just the biggest thing. Just knocking some rust off, getting my conditioning back, so I’m able to run and cut and do all the things I kinda do… just getting my legs under me and my shots,” Kuzma said.
Kuzma also added the added lift on his jumpers can be attributed to seeing more time on the floor.
“I’m not doing nothing different. Same shots I took in previous games when I was coming back. I’m just playing more basketball, that’s all.”
With Anthony Davis sitting out due to shoulder and rib injuries, head coach Frank Vogel opted to use Kuzma in the starting lineup where he did an excellent job cutting and getting to the basket. He finished the game with 22 points on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 from the three-point line.
This is now the second game in a row that Kuzma has begun to resemble more of himself after suffering a foot injury during his stint with USA Basketball and it is a welcomed sight for Los Angeles as they need his scoring ability to help prop up the team whenever James or Davis sits. The outside shooting improvement is also something to look out for because if he is able to effectively space the floor, it would pay huge dividends for the offense going forward.
Now at 9-2, the Lakers will look to continue this new winning streak when they take on former head coach Luke Walton and the Sacramento Kings.