(Photo By: Noah Graham/Getty Images)
Lakers at Warriors: 3 Things to Know (3/14/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ last game against Golden State this season.
1) Kuzma is in his groove (but hurt)
Kyle Kuzma is arguably the most flammable scorer on the Lakers, and he made his case for that title in Tuesday’s win over Denver by dropping 16 of his 23 points in the third quarter alone.
The rookie made the defense pay with his shot selection from deep, hitting five 3-pointers all on clean looks. And he went into circus mode inside the arc, making a few tough shots, like a fast-break Eurostep and a hook shot on the move.
Plus, Kuzma continued his presence on the glass by grabbing 13 rebounds. He now has double-digit boards in three of his last four games.
The only downside to Kuzma’s night was that he sprained his right ankle on the last play of the third quarter. He was able to tough his way into playing the fourth, but is questionable to suit up in Oakland.
2) Kuz isn’t the only one getting buckets
Even if Kuzma isn’t able to play, the Lakers will still have plenty of scoring punch.
Julius Randle matched Kuzma’s 26-point, 13-rebound line against Denver, using his physicality and speed to constantly drive on the Nuggets’ bigs. It has been a monthlong ascent for Randle, who has averaged 21.6 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 60.8 percent in his last 13 games.
Plus, Isaiah Thomas poured in 23 points against Denver, saving a dozen for the fourth quarter. The second-unit point guard was at his best pulling up for shots out of pick-and-rolls, which is how he hit two of his four 3’s.
Over his last seven games as a Laker, Thomas has scored 20-plus four times and has five outings with at least six assists.
3) It’s the Durant show
Half of Golden State’s All-Star quartet — Stephen Curry and Draymond Green — will not play due to injury. Another member of that group, Klay Thompson, is considered questionable.
But the defending champs still have one of the most dangerous scorers in the world: Kevin Durant.
Without Curry in Golden State’s last three games, Durant has been a one-man offense, averaging 38.7 points and 5.0 3-pointers while shooting 48.4 percent from deep.
And somehow — while scoring 37, 40 and 39 points in those games — he has found the time to also average 9.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in this stretch.
Durant is clearly one of the league’s top two-way players and the biggest obstacle to a Lakers win. However, the Warriors have gone just 1-2 since Curry went down, and the smoking-hot Lakers are 8-2 since the All-Star Break.
Lakers: Brandon Ingram (left groin strain), Josh Hart (left hand fourth metacarpal fracture) and Channing Frye (appendectomy) are out. Kyle Kuzma (sprained right ankle) is questionable.
Warriors: Stephen Curry (tweaked right ankle), Draymond Green (right shoulder soreness), David West (right arm cyst) and Patrick McCaw (non-displaced fracture, left wrist) are out. Klay Thompson (sprained right thumb) is questionable. Andre Iguodala (left wrist sprain) and Jordan Bell (right ankle sprain) are probable.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes in L.A. ESPN nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Purple Statement
Location: Oracle Arena — Oakland, California