Lakers' Second Unit Steps Up Against Utah
The Lakers’ second unit brought some first-rate firepower to Tuesday’s preseason game against Utah.
Alex Caruso zipped dimes all across the court, while Kyle Kuzma attacked the teeth of the defense and Julius Randle jumped into passing lanes other end.
And though the Lakers fell, 105-99, it was a nice showing by the guys who came off the bench.
Caruso directed the show with 10 assists — tying for the most by a player off the bench this preseason.
Pushing the pace a la injured point guard Lonzo Ball, Caruso was able to boost the production of Randle (18 points, five steals) and Jordan Clarkson (18 points, 6-of-8).
“It makes my job easier when you’re playing with such good players like that — guys that can score the basketball in a variety of ways,” Caruso said.
But it was Kuzma — the NBA leader in preseason total scoring — who once again stepped into the spotlight.
The 27th-overall pick finished the night with 18 points, hitting a couple 3-pointers and wowing the crowd with a wicked spin move in transition.
Kuzma has now led the Lakers in scoring in four of their five preseason games. While head coach Luke Walton wouldn’t say if he was considering starting Kuzma in the regular season, he assured that the rookie will be a major piece of the roatation.
“Kuzma’s forced his way into the idea that we’re gonna find minutes for him,” Walton said. “… We’re going to find a way to keep him on the court no matter what the rotations end up being.”
But even Kuzma’s scoring couldn’t help the Lakers’ out of a late rut against the Jazz.
A Caruso layup gave the purple and gold a 99-98 with two minutes remaining, but the offense stalled from there.
Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell answered with a tough bank shot and then followed with a 3-pointer, capping off his 26-point night.
HIGHLIGHTS: Clarkson and Kuzma lead the scoring with 18 apiece, but the Lakers fall to the Jazz 105-99. pic.twitter.com/HEBeWIwQJs— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 11, 2017
Caruso also led the Lakers with six rebounds. … Second Team All-NBA selection Rudy Gobert (29 points, 13 rebounds) led the Jazz. … A crowd of 15,024 attended at STAPLES Center.