Kyle Kuzma had one of the best moments of his season with the game-winning shot over Denver Nuggets big man Bol Bol on Monday night. The Los Angeles Lakers were in the midst of a three-game losing streak and needed to turn things around. Kuzma got his first chance to start alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James since the team entered the bubble and he didn’t disappoint.
He turned some heads with the comments he made after the game.
“I think Jesus could be in front of me and I’d probably still shoot,” Kuzma said. “I mean, it doesn’t really matter to me. I got an open look. It’s a play we kind of ran in practice a few times prior to the restart, and coach had faith in me and called my number and it paid off.”
While Kuzma showed a lot of confidence after the game, former league MVP Kevin Durant decided to take a bit of shot at the young forward.
The Lakers 3rd Option?
Durant might be taking Jesus in Monday’s scenario but the Lakers seem pretty happy with Kuzma right now. He’s always been touted as the closest thing to a third star for the team. He has a lot of talent but hasn’t always played his best this season. Jared Dudley has been his biggest supporter and gave him a shoutout after the win.
Kuzma has been playing really well in these seeding games. If he can keep up the momentum, he could be a problem for teams come playoff time. With the loss of Avery Bradley, the Lakers really need a player like Kuzma to step up. Proving he could be a consistent third option would not only help Los Angeles this year but could also do a lot to secure a future with the team.
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Kuzma Key to Championship, Says LeBron
Anthony Davis and LeBron form the NBA’s best duo but even they know they can’t win a championship alone.
“In order for us to win a championship, he [Kuzma] has to be our third best player,” LeBron told the media after Monday’s win. “If I’m struggling or AD is struggling, he has to be our second-best player on any given night.
“We can’t win a championship if ‘Kuz’ doesn’t play well.”
Due to the unprecedented nature of the NBA reboot, it’s almost a certainty that LeBron and Davis will have off games in the playoffs. If Kuzma can help pick up the slack, then the Lakers won’t need to rely on their two stars so much.
He’s been up and down all year but has been putting in a lot of work during the suspension of play. His shooting is better and he’s actually making an impact on defense. Now, he’s never played in a playoff game before. Sometimes young players struggle when there is so much on the line. These playoffs will be very telling for the Lakers.