Kyle Kuzma did not hold back after the lastest Los Angeles Lakers loss, taking the blame after a less than stellar outing and calling out his teammates for lack of hustle.
The Lakers fell to the Celtics 121-113 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Boston led by as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter before a late surge from the Lakers bench mob made things a little tighter.
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Devontae Cacok, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Ben McLemore, Alfonzo McKinnie and Talen Horton-Tucker made up the group that nearly pulled off the massive comeback, getting as close as five points late.
“That was a lot of fun to see those guys get in and compete,” Kuzma told reporters after the loss. “Most of us did not really play that hard and to see those guys come in and give effort, that was everything. We were all excited and they almost pulled through.”
Kyle Kuzma After Loss: ‘I Played Like S—‘
Kuzma did not exclude himself from his criticism, even though he hit a pretty big milestone during the game. Kuzma became the 10th Lakers player to score 4,000-plus points in his first 261 career games.
He didn’t care one bit about the achievement after the game.
“That’s cool, but if I would have played a little better and probably would have won I would have more of a quote for you,” Kuzma said. “I played like s–t today. That’s cool, but yeah.”
Kuzma was a team-worst minus-20 for the game, scoring 13 points and grabbing just 2 rebounds in 29 minutes.
What Kuzma was happy with was the vibe inside of Staples Center, which welcomed nearly 2,000 fans for a game for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
“It was fun to have a little energy out there,” Kuzma said. “Having fans was a little different. We haven’t had fans since March and I think we are all glad to have something that’s a little bit normal.”
Kyle Kuzma Excited for Lakers Roster to Get Healthy
The Lakers are basically piecing together a roster every night at this point, with multiple players playing through injuries. Andre Drummond and Markieff Morris missed the contest against the Celtics, joining Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Jared Dudley on the sideline.
Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marc Gasol and Dennis Schroder are also playing through various ailments.
The Lakers will be getting a boost within the next week or so from Davis, who is expected to return to the lineup after the weekend, although he could make his return prior to that.
“It’s going to be great just to get extra bodies out there. That’s the most important thing, outside of getting him back in playing shape,” Kuzma said. “We’ve had a long stretch missing parts and players playing through stuff.”
Prior to the injury, Davis was averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds, while also helping bolster the Lakers’ stout defense with 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals.