The Los Angeles Lakers reached the end of their four-game road trip with a tough loss to the Detroit Pistons. The game represented a homecoming for Kyle Kuzma, a native of Flint, Mich.
Kuzma responded with another strong performance, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds while logging 41 minutes. Playing time has been a concern recently as head coach Luke Walton has really had to rely on just a few players thanks to injuries.
Kuzma has played over 40 minutes in each of the last three games and he, Lonzo Ball, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are all averaging nearly 40 minutes over the last 10.
Making things tougher for Kuzma is that he sprained his ankle a couple of weeks ago. Following Monday’s loss, Walton spoke about trying to get Kuzma less minutes, but praised the rookie for fighting through it, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“His competitive spirit is awesome. His ankle is banged up. I mean, I’m trying to get him less minutes but he comes out there and he fights.”
Kuzma isn’t too worried about the injury, however, saying that he has been working with the Lakers training staff to be sure that he is capable of remaining on the court, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I’ve been good. I’ve been doing a great job of doing treatment on it. Staying with the training staff religiously. They’ve been helping me get out there, so I’m good.”
The Lakers can ill afford for Kuzma to not be on the court right now considering their other injuries. Even better for them is that Kuzma has really stepped up and regained his early-season form, averaging 21 points and 8.4 rebounds over the last five games.
With Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart potentially returning within the week, Kuzma’s and others’ minutes will begin to go down. That should benefit a team has clearly been fatigued of late.
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