(Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)
Kuzma, Rondo lead short-handed Lakers to 8th straight win
All wins count the same in the standings, but some are more valuable than others.
What the Lakers did Saturday night in Oklahoma City was special, as they pounded one of the hottest teams in the NBA despite missing both of their stars and a third starter.
No LeBron James and no Anthony Davis? No problem, as long as you have Rajon Rondo running the show and Kyle Kuzma putting on an offensive clinic.
The veteran point guard played like a man possessed from the jump, scoring his first six baskets without a miss.
Rondo would end up a pair of dimes shy of a triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists) and was downright dominant in another explosive first half for the Lakers.
And once he cooled down, it automatically became Kuzmania Time.
Starting in place of Davis for the second night in a row, Kuzma one-upped himself with an offensive masterpiece.
His 36 points were impressive on their own, but the way he got to them was even more special: 15-for-24 from the field, including 4-of-6 from downtown.
He even had the dagger with 1:40 to go in the fourth quarter, ending all hope for a Thunder team that had managed to slice a 32-point deficit to 11 down the stretch.
The Lakers were so much more than those two, though.
What happened throughout these 48 minutes on the Chesapeake Energy Arena hardwood was a statement from many of those guys that seldom get a chance to shine.
All in all, L.A. had seven different players in double figures, and contributions down to the last man on the bench.
Alex Caruso had 11. Dwight Howard posted a monster double-double with 12 points and 14 boards. Troy Daniels nailed a couple of threes en route to his 12.
However, it was Quinn Cook (13 points) and Jared Dudley (the only scoreless player of the game) who executed the most significant play of the game – a sequence that summed up the essence of teamwork this team personifies so well:
“Extremely proud and really, extremely happy for guys in particular like Quinn and Troy and Dudz that don’t play every night,” coach Frank Vogel added. “They have to stay ready, which is a difficult assignment when you’re not practicing and the games are going by where you’re not playing. For those guys to stay ready and come in and contribute at the level they did tonight, all three of them played fantastic.”
Fifteen deep, indeed.
I said we 15 DEEP!!!!! Great Team Win! #nextmanup— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) January 12, 2020
Recent Stories on Lakers.com