Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma hits game-winning 3-pointer vs. Nuggets

Lakers' Kyle Kuzma hits game-winning 3-pointer vs. Nuggets

Aug. 11 (UPI) — Kyle Kuzma drained a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a dramatic win over the Denver Nuggets in a seeding game in Orlando, Fla.

Kuzma totaled 25 points in the 124-121 win Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex inside Walt Disney World Resort.

“Coach had faith in me and called my number. It paid off,” Kuzma told reporters.

LeBron James scored a game-high 29 points and had 12 assists in the win, which ended a three-game losing streak for the Lakers.

“It was a big time shot,” James said of Kuzma’s late 3-pointer. “It was a big confidence booster for ‘Kuz’ and [it’s good] to know we have another option to go to down the stretch when we need to.”

Anthony Davis paced the Lakers with 12 points in the first quarter for an early 31-25 advantage. James added 12 points in the second frame to help the Lakers hold a 64-59 edge at halftime.

The Nuggets fought back to take the lead in the third quarter, and the score was 88-88 heading into the fourth quarter.

James gave his squad a 121-119 advantage with a made basket and free throw with 45 seconds remaining before P.J. Dozier tied the score with a free throw with 4.8 seconds left in the game. Dozier missed on a second free throw attempt and the Lakers got the rebound and called a timeout.

James threw an inbound pass and found Davis near the paint at the start of the game-winning sequence. Davis held the ball as Kuzma rolled toward the 3-point arc. Davis then flipped the ball to Kuzma, who made an off-balance 3-pointer.

Kuzma made 3 of 5 attempts from downtown in the win. He also had six rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Lakers. Davis had 27 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks in the win.

“Kuzma is an option for us,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He made several end of game shots in scrimmages just like he did tonight. It’s important to have a third target in there.”

Another look at @kylekuzma’s game-winning triple for the @Lakers! #LakeShow #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/1tMOaVq28n— NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2020

Dozier scored 18 points off the bench to lead the Nuggets. Michael Porter Jr. scored 15 points in the loss.

The Lakers (52-18) face the Sacramento Kings in their final seeding game at 1:30 p.m. EDT Thursday in Orlando. The Nuggets (46-25) face the Los Angeles Clippers at 9 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Orlando.

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