The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t have LeBron James or Anthony Davis, and were going up against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that had looked impressive of late.
It was the recipe for a disastrous night; it was anything but for Frank Vogel’s team, with Kyle Kuzma scoring a season-high 36 points in a 125-110 on Sunday (AEDT).
Vogel said James had a chest cold. James is averaging 25.4 points, a league-leading 10.7 assists and 8.7 rebounds and has helped the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference.
Watch the 2019/20 NBA Season with ESPN on KAYO. Up to up to 7 LIVE games every week! New to Kayo?
Davis, who leads the Lakers with 27.1 points per game, missed his second straight game with a gluteus maximus contusion.
It didn’t matter. Kuzma, in just his third start of the season, made 15 of 24 shots. Rajon Rondo added 21 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers. Los Angeles shot 51.5 percent to win its eighth in a row.
James played on Friday night and had 35 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in a win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Without him, the Lakers raced to a 73-49 halftime lead over the Thunder behind 58% shooting. Kuzma scored 23 points before the break. It was Oklahoma City’s largest halftime deficit of the season.
The Lakers extended the lead to 32 in the third quarter before Oklahoma City rallied and trimmed its deficit to 102-82 at the end of the period, but the Thunder never really got close.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari each scored 24 points for the Thunder, who had won 11 of their previous 13 games.