Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
L.A., which will enter the restart as one of the league’s top championship contenders, dropped its first scrimmage to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, 108-104. It produced a strong all-around performance Saturday, shooting 56.9 percent from the field while holding the Magic to 34.3 percent shooting.
Orlando suffered its second straight loss after a 99-90 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. It’ll start regular-season play inside the bubble as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, 5.5 games ahead of the Washington Wizards.
Of note, Lakers star Anthony Davis exited the game after being poked in the right eye during the first half. He did not return, finishing with nine points, 10 rebounds and one block in nine minutes.
LeBron James (LAL): 20 PTS, 7 AST
Anthony Davis (LAL): 9 PTS, 10 REB
Kyle Kuzma (LAL): 25 PTS, 7 REB
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (LAL): 17 PTS
D.J. Augustin (ORL): 21 PTS, 5 AST
Aaron Gordon (ORL): 14 PTS
Nikola Vucevic (ORL): 10 PTS, 6 REB
Michael Carter-Williams (ORL): 15 PTS, 8 REB
Kuzma Looks Primed For Major Bubble Impact
James and Davis will need to dominate the next few months if the Lakers are going to navigate the loaded Western Conference and chase down the franchise’s 17th championship. They’re going to need help, however, and that’s the Lakers’ biggest question mark in Orlando.
Kuzma was the only L.A. player besides the team’s superstar duo putting up over 10 points per game when play was halted March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. He averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 54 games after missing the season’s early stages with a foot injury.
It could make the 25-year-old Michigan native the ultimate X-factor inside the bubble.
If he plays like a third star, the Lakers will be an incredibly difficult out given their high-end talent and depth elsewhere on the roster. I