of the Lakers told his mom after Tuesday night’s game against the just how cool it was to have the game he had against that team.
The rookie grew up in Flint, Mich., idolizing that team, especially the 2004 Pistons, who beat the Lakers in the Finals. On Tuesday, Kuzma was part of a Lakers effort to blow out the Pistons. Not just that, but he was their second leading scorer with 16 points. Kuzma also had six rebounds and three assists in the Lakers’ 113-93 win.
“It was bound to happen,” Kuzma said. “I take good threes I feel like I was just waiting for them to fall. They kind of did.”
Kuzma made all four of his three-point attempts against the Pistons. At one point, he pulled up for a three, made it, and afterward coach called him over to tell him that had he not made it he’d be sitting on the bench.
“They’ve always been preaching shot selection, being unselfish, playing as a team,” Kuzma said. “I just try to play the right way.”
The most impressive part of Brandon Ingram’s stat line against the Pistons was not the points he scored or the rebounds he grabbed. It was that he had four steals, a testament to the strides he has made in learning how to use his gangly arms.
Ingram has a wingspan of more than seven feet, perfect for plucking the ball away from an unsuspecting opponent, for taking angles few others can. Now he’s realizing that.
“The advantage to having that length is, you get to take different angles than 99% of the people playing,” Walton said. “So when you figure out how to use that to your advantage, he did it a couple times last night. Where you can take off from. Where you can pick your dribble up and start a euro step from. All those type of things are huge for you when you have that length and you get control and understanding of what to do with it.”
Protecting the ball
To Walton, the Lakers’ most impressive statistic Tuesday night was their assist-to-turnover ratio. The Lakers had 30 assists and 14 turnovers.
“To me if you can get 30 assists you’re playing the game the right way,” Walton said. “And we’ve really been struggling with turnovers and a lot of those have been live-ball turnovers and transition opportunities, so we’ve been harping on how important it is. Instead of trying to make a little fancy pass or a casual pass, let’s value that ball and really execute on the simple part of finishing in transition and not turning the ball over, and I thought our guys did a great job of that and that’s part of the reason we were able to maintain a big lead for a lot of that game.”
Kuzma wasn’t the only Laker who shot better from three-point range Tuesday.
Heading into that game, the Lakers were making a league low 6.7 threes per game, and had averaged making 27.8% of them.
On Tuesday, they made 12 of 26.
Their poor shooting from deep was part of the reason the Lakers had been focusing on getting into the paint to score. They led the league with 55.1 points in the paint heading into the game.
But even with their strong shooting against the Pistons, they got into the paint. Against the Pistons they scored 62 points in the paint to the Pistons’ 50.
When: Thursday, 7:30.
On air: TV: , Radio: 710, 1330
Update: The entered Wednesday night with a 4-3 record. They will be coming off a back to back, having faced the on the road Wednesday.
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