Related Tags: The Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma has stepped up without LeBron in the lineup, and the second year forward out of Utah did it again Thursday night when the LA Lakers visited the Thunder. Kuzma had a game high 32 points as the Lakers beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City 138-128. The road win represents the biggest win for this Lakers team without LeBron.
Kuzma was efficient all night, shooting 11-20 from the field, and a deadly 7-12 from behind the arc. Lonzo Ball chipped in with 18 points and 10 assists, including a very productive overtime period in which he scored 5 of the Lakers 16. Croatian international and Lakers second year center Ivika Zubic had a career high 26 points on 12-14 shooting. The Lakers were efficient all night, shooting over 50% as a team.
Despite the loss, Russell Westbrook did his thing, and filled the stat columns as usual. Westbrook had 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 13 assists, as Paul George led all OKC scorers with 27 points on the night.
The game in OKC was the first of three big western conference tests for the Lakers, all of which they will be without LeBron James. Next up for LA is a trip to Houston to play the rockets, followed by a game at Golden State to match up with the reigning champs.
As for the Thunder, the loss comes at a time in which OKC is finding it hard to string together positive results. OKC is now 4-6 in their last 10, and just 2 games ahead of 8th place in the crazy-tight western conference. With just 3.5 games separating 3rd place from 9th place in the west, there is no time to rest. The Thunder will try to bounce back on Saturday, when they visit Joel Embiid and the 76ers in Philly.