Kuzma, who didn’t play on Saturday due to a calf strain, waited just a few minutes after the score went final to deliver his troll job. The meme of “cigarette LeBron” appeared to be a reference the fact that the Nets have loaded up on talent but still lost to the Lakers, who were missing James, Kuzma, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol and Wes Matthews.
Kuzma didn’t put the usual caption that accompanies the photo, but it usually involves a long list of obstacles before concluding James will still accomplish his goal.
It’s not the first time the Lakers have publicly referenced the Nets super squad. James reposted a video from Mark Phillips that joked about his reaction when he found out Harden was heading to Brooklyn.
The Nets and Lakers are the top two favorites for the title, with Brooklyn coming in at +250 and LA close behind at +330.
Frank Vogel: One of the Best Wins of the Year
The Nets are the current betting favorite to win the title after adding former All-Star Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge to a roster that already had Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. In Brooklyn’s defense, Durant was on a minutes restriction, Irving got ejected and Harden was out with a hamstring injury.
However, the Lakers winning so handily without their stars was enough for head coach Frank Vogel to call it one of the “best win of the year” for his squad.
“When you see guys out and you see a great opponent like the Nets, you can be a little bit overwhelmed and not sure if you’re going to have a chance to win it. But you want to have a go-after-these-guys mindset,” Vogel said. “And we knew coming in that if we were able to prevail short-handed against this opponent that it would feel good and it would be one of the best wins of the year.
“So, we’re happy about that.”
Lakers Optimistic About Kyle Kuzma’s Injury
Kuzma is expected to return to the lineup on Monday against the Knicks, giving him five days off to nurse his strained calf injury.
“It’s mild, but it is concerning enough for the medical team to want to keep him out another game,” Vogel told reporters prior to Saturday’s game. “We were hopeful that he was going to be ready for tonight, but he just needs a couple days. We’re hopeful he plays against New York.”
Kuzma might not be putting up eye-popping numbers (12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds) but has really carved out his role this season.
“Kuz plays hard. That’s the simplest way to put it,” Vogel said recently. “I’ve never had a problem with when you have a guy like that gives maximum effort on the defensive end. There’s going to be certain matchups that are challenging for him, but you can say that about any player.
“But when he brings a high level of focus and a high level of defensive intensity and effort, he’s going to more than survive out there.”
While Davis, James and veteran Jared Dudley are dealing with long-term injuries, Gasol (hamstring) and Matthews (Achilles) were new additions to the injury report.