I have to admit, when the Nuggets kept draining 3’s that had them leading the Lakers by 5 towards the 2-minute mark, I thought this one was over. Glad to be wrong on this as AD, LeBron, Danny Green, and Kyle KKKKUUUUUZZZZMMMMAAAA wouldn’t let the team lose to the Nuggets again.
For some reason, certain players have elevated their games in the Orlando bubble experience.
It’s bizarre, with players like Devin Booker leading teams like(we’ll call them that team in Phoenix) to an undefeated streak, and Kyle Kuzma playing more aggressive than ever before. Kuzma’s most noticeable improvement has been at the defensive end, though there are still times where he commits an ill-advised foul. Kuzma hit the game-winning 3-point shot at the end as a result of head coach Frank Vogel called his number for the final play. When Kuzma was moving towards the ball I kept yelling at the tv, “No you don’t, get away from the ball Kuzma, let LeBron or AD take this!” but I’m glad he ignored the yelling he heard from Peoria, AZ and rose up to take that shot. Good call coach Vogel on recognizing Kuzma’s elevated confidence and play as of late and capitalizing on it. “He has more poise about his game of late.”, said Vogel.
The Lakers escaped with the victory in this one with a final score of 124-121.
This was a weird game for LeBron, he scored 29 points on 9-21 shooting (5-11 from three, 6-10 from the line) with 1 rebound, 12 assists, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers, and no fouls in 38 minutes. He had an efficiency of -10. He helped control the defensive scheme during the last 30 seconds of play which helped shut down Nugget players from exploding for an even bigger lead, and he also drew defenders around the floor with him, which allowed for Danny Green to get the 3 point opportunities that he knocked down at important moments.
Anthony Davis scored 27 points on 9-15 shooting (0-1 from three, 9-12 from the line) with 6 rebounds (4 offensive), 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, and 1 foul in 38 minutes. He had an efficiency of +13. He played a lot more aggressive tonight and it paid dividends.
Kyle Kuzma, although acting like he was Kobe at the end, realized the importance of this moment for his team and acted on it. He scored 25 points on 11-16 shooting (3-5 from three) with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, and 2 fouls in 33 minutes of action. He had an efficiency of +16.
This is the kind of win that generates momentum for a team heading into the playoffs. This post-season is going to be one of the most challenging the Lakers franchise has ever had, and it’s going to take even better performances than this to get the championship.