Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton recently made mention of ideally reducing the number of minutes Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are averaging this season. Though, Walton noted he hadn’t seen signs of fatigue from any of the three youngsters.
Whereas Ingram returned after missing two games due to quad injuries to score a team-high 23 points in 44 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies, Kuzma struggled throughout the night. He finished with just nine points on 4-of-24 shooting, and made just one of 11 attempts from behind the arc.
Perhaps most telling, the majority of his misses were short to the rim. “I’m not going to use that as an excuse,” answered Kuzma when asked if fatigue had set in.
“Basketball is basketball. Shots just didn’t fall tonight. Usually they do. As a professional, I feel like you’re going to have those nights. Everybody has those type of nights, and tonight was mine.”
The 22-year-old began the night having played a minimum of 40 minutes in four of the past five games. He’d logged at least 30 minutes in the last eight games, scoring in double-figures in each of those contests.
Walton also downplayed the possibility of the uncharacteristic night from his rookie being due to tired legs. “I think Kuz just had a poor shooting night,” Walton said.
“He looked good today. I mean, he always looks good. I didn’t think he was tired going into the game, but he’s played a lot of minutes.”
Adding further insult to Kuzma’s night, he was kneed in the quad during the fourth quarter. He put a wrap on his leg upon checking out and rode a stationary bike in effort to remain loose. Kuzma returned but hardly had his full mobility.
“It hurts a little bit,” Kuzma said of the quad issue. “I finished it out limping a little bit, but it’s part of basketball.”
He wasn’t yet certain if it would cause him to miss any games. What Kuzma was aware of is the importance of receiving proper treatment.
“I’ve been doing pretty well with my body for the most part all season,” he said. “It’s a long season. We’ve got about 100 more games, just have to get prepared for that.”
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