Lakers Trio Takes Turns Heating Up in Win
The Lakers’ three biggest scorers on the night each had to work their way out of a slump.
Julius Randle started the night hot, but was the focus of the defense’s attention from then on. Kyle Kuzma missed his first five shots of the game. Isaiah Thomas was off on 12 of his 19 total attempts.
But each player stepped up when the Lakers needed him, as they overcame a 13-point deficit to get their revenge on the Denver Nuggets.
Here’s a look at how they did so.
Julius Randle: Drives
The Lakers’ big man continued his dominant ways, putting up 26 points and 13 rebounds.
Aside from Paul Millsap, the Nuggets’ bigs aren’t known for their defensive prowess, and Randle took advantage.
In particular, he used his quickness and ball handling to take them off the dribble, driving in for four of his buckets.
Even Millsap had trouble against the freight train, and literally bounced off of him on one of these drives.
Julius Randle worked the Nuggets off the dribble.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) March 14, 2018
4 driving buckets for the power forward against 3 different defenders. pic.twitter.com/ldM1fioM18
Kyle Kuzma: Shot quality
After Kuzma started the game 0-for-5, he settled down and began taking clean, high-percentage looks.
He knocked down five 3-pointers from then on, and each was an in-rhythm shot within the offense.
Specifically, he spotted up in the corner a couple times and ran a pick-and-pop with Lonzo Ball.
Kuzma sprained his ankle on the last possession of the third quarter, but gritted through in the fourth and remained hot, as he hit two more 3’s on a pair of designed plays off screens.
Finding his rhythm with quality attempts from outside helped Kuzma inside, where he made a few tough shots, including a skyhook and a Eurostep in transition, finishing with 26 points and 13 boards.
Kyle Kuzma started the night 0-for-5, but found his rhythm by improving his shot selection from deep.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) March 14, 2018
All 5 of his 3-pointers were clean looks: 2 spot ups, 2 set plays off screens and a pick-and-pop.
: https://t.co/7XNBfCi5UN pic.twitter.com/gQlDAWIUSr
Isaiah Thomas: Pull-up jumpers
Thomas was the Lakers’ top weapon in the fourth, scoring 12 of his 23 points in the final frame.
The Nuggets had no answer for Thomas coming off a ball screen, as he hit four shots in that scenario.
Randle or Travis Wear would set him a pick and Thomas would attack quickly, forcing the big man to retreat and protect the rim. That left plenty of open looks to pull up from 3-point or mid-range, and he consistently cashed them.