It took a last-second shot from Kyle Kuzma for the Los Angeles Lakers to snap a three-game losing skid.
Kuzma, with the game tied up with two seconds left on the clock, expertly sunk a 3-point bucket from the wing to lift the Lakers past the Denver Nuggets 124-121.
“It felt good. It’s just a lot of work that I put in during the quarantine, and it kind of just paid off,” Kuzma said on Spectrum SportsNet. “I just continue to stay with it and try to get better every day, and results like that happen.”
Kuzma hits final shot
The Lakers and Nuggets bounced back and forth throughout most of the game, and neither team was able to pull ahead by more than single digits.
The Lakers grabbed the lead after trailing through most of the fourth quarter when LeBron James converted an and-one layup with less than a minute left. Thanks to a free throw from Monte Morris and another from PJ Dozier after drawing a blocking foul on Kuzma, however, the Nuggets tied the game back up.
With one opportunity left setup after a timeout, James inbounded the ball to Anthony Davis in the post. Davis quickly handed the ball off to a cutting Kuzma, who perfectly sank the shot over Nuggets center Bol Bol with 0.4 seconds left in the game.
“I think Jesus could be in front of me and I’d probably still shoot. It don’t really matter to me,” Kuzma said, via the OC Register. “I got an open look, it was a play that we kind of ran in practice a few times prior to the restart. Coach had faith in me, he just called my number and it paid off.”
Kyle Kuzma with the quote of the night when asked what went through his mind as rangy Bol Bol tan toward him: “I think Jesus could be in front of me and I’d probably still shoot.” pic.twitter.com/1YYJuMLUkI
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) August 11, 2020
Denver’s final attempt at a tip-in failed, giving the Lakers the three-point win.
James led the Lakers with 29 points and 12 assists. He picked up his first and only rebound in the game with 30 seconds to go, too, preventing him from finishing his first contest without one since 2010. Davis added 27 points in the win, and Kuzma finished with 25 points while shooting 11-of-16 from the field.
Dozier led the Nuggets with 18 points off the bench. Michael Porter Jr. added 15 points while shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, and both Morris and Jamal Murray finished with 14. Eight Nuggets players scored in double figures in the loss, which marked the second in their last three games.
The Lakers have one seeding game left — they’ll take on the Sacramento Kings on Thursday — before the postseason starts next week. They’ve already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and will take on the winner of the play-in series that is scheduled to start Saturday.
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) August 11, 2020
“Me personally, as far as mentally, I’m not in playoff mode,” James said, via Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks. “Physically I’m getting there. I feel like my legs have gotten better and better. My game has improved more and more. I’m getting more and more comfortable with ‘the bubble.’
“But as far as the mental side of it, nah I’m not there. Personally I don’t think our team is there, but we will be. There’s a different type of mindset that you have to be in, but you don’t want to jump into it before you actually get there because it takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort.”
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