Your favorite Los Angeles-based basketball team wasn’t on the right side of a blowout win on Sunday? We can’t relate. Even with Anthony Davis sidelined, the Los Angeles Lakers comfortably beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-91 thanks in no small part to Kyle Kuzma, who earned his first starting nod on Sunday.
In 29:09, Kuzma scored 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. Sunday marked Kuzma’s first game with 20 points since Aug. 10, when he hit a game-winning 3-point shot against the Denver Nuggets. He scored 19 points in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Kuzma obviously didn’t have the season everyone wanted him to have last season, but he’s looked the most comfortable he’s looked in a long time this season. If he continues to settle into his role nicely, his three-year, $40 million contract extension will look like a steal in no time, and that’s assuming it doesn’t already.
Kuzma’s 20 points led all scorers, but only by two points. His teammate, LeBron James, ended the game with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. And the best part? James looked like he was playing at 60% capacity. He’s turning 36 in three days. He’s unreal.
James wasn’t the only one that looked young and spry on Sunday, though. Marc Gasol, who will turn 36 years old next month, had his best game in a Lakers uniform, tallying 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from behind the arc, in addition to 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Gasol might not post a near triple-double on a night-to-night basis this season, but as as he continues to get his legs under him, his stat lines will look a lot better than they have as of late. Suffice to say, Sunday was a step in the right direction.
The Lakers will be back at it on Monday to take on the 1-1 Portland Trail Blazers.