March 7, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Kyle Kuzma’s active play helps Lakers rally past Memphis

See the basketball. Go get the basketball.

That is the simple approach Kyle Kuzma has taken in becoming an improved rebounder for the Lakers this season.

He collected 10 rebounds during the Lakers’ 115-105 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night at Staples Center, five important ones on the offensive end.

Kuzma added 20 points to his performance, giving him seven double-doubles this season and 30 over his four-year career.

And it was the 13th time in his career that Kuzma has produced at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game.

When he was asked if he has studied anyone, done any drills or changed his mental approach when it comes to rebounding, Kuzma simply said, “Naw.”

Highlights from the Lakers’ 115-105 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

“I’m just trying to get the damned ball, really,” he said on a videoconference after the win. “That’s really it. I’ve been blessed with a nose for the ball. Trying to figure it out where it goes off the rim, but other than that, just go get the ball.”

Kuzma flew in after Anthony Davis missed a jumper in the fourth quarter and tipped the ball in with his left hand, sending his teammates into a joyous celebration on the bench, as many of them stood up and extended their left hands in the air.

On the very next time down the court, Kuzma got another offensive rebound and was fouled on the play, giving him two free throws that he made to give the Lakers a 13-point lead.

Then after Marc Gasol missed a three-pointer, Kuzma chased down the rebound, gathered his feet and knocked down a three-pointer for a 17-point Lakers lead that slammed the door shut on the Grizzlies.

Here are four other observations from the Lakers’ seventh consecutive victory:

1. There was a point when the Lakers were down 22-2 in the first quarter.

It was yet another painful slow start to a game for the Lakers. Although they turned it around and won going away, there has to be concern.

Davis said they got in the huddle when trailing by 20 and simply said, “Stay together.”

“We’ve proven that we can come back — and it’s early in the game — but we’ve proven that we can come back from deficits,” Davis said after the game. “Obviously we don’t want to be in those situations, but we’re just staying together, continuing to trust each other.”

2. The Lakers were not very good from the three-point line Friday night. They made just 20% of their threes, shooting six for 30. It’s a trend that started during the winning streak. They’ve made only 30% of their shots from deep during the seven wins.

3. Taking care of the basketball was a big problem for the Lakers. They had six turnovers in the first quarter, a big reason why they got down by 20 points early. They finished the game with 18. LeBron James had five, Dennis Schroder four, and Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three each.

4. The Lakers overcame a subpar scoring night from the starting backcourt of Schroder and Caldwell-Pope, who combined for five points. The duo averages 24 points a game this season.