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Kyle Kuzma explodes as Lakers lose to Sixers

The Lakers had one of their worst defensive performances of the season, wasting a monster night from Kyle Kuzma in the process.

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In the first quarter there was nothing that could stop Kyle Kuzma, who dropped 23 points in the period. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers, they couldn’t stop any of the Philadelphia 76ers the entire game, resulting in a 143-120 loss.

Kuzma finished with 39 points on 14-21 shooting, his second-highest scoring game of the year and just two points short of the career-high 41 he dropped on the Detroit Pistons last month.

Things actually looked okay for the Lakers up until the third quarter, but then they allowed a 13-2 run to end that frame that swung the game for the Sixers, as Philly didn’t let up to start the fourth quarter.

The Sixers looked nearly as good collectively as Kuzma did individually, shooting a net-scorching 57.3 percent from the field as they scored at a rate that would equal 134.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s the second-worst defensive rating the Lakers have allowed this season, and won’t get it done no matter how well Kuzma scores offensively.

The only positives for the Lakers aside from Kuzma’s poor play was how much new additions seemed to be helping, as Mike Muscala and Reggie Bullock — the latter of whom started in his Lakers debut — seemed to give L.A. the spacing threats they needed even without canning a bunch of their threes (finishing a combined 2-7 from behind the arc)

The Lakers will get a chance to redeem themselves when they take on the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday in their final game before the NBA All-Star break. Given how ragged they’ve mostly looked on defense over the past several weeks, the team will just have to hope that the time off will give them a chance to rediscover their form and make a playoff push.

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