It has been a tough season for the Los Angeles Lakers where they have been plagued by multiple injuries to some of their crucial players. The Purple and Gold army again had a very close encounter where they somehow managed a 124-122 win over the Houston Rockets.
It was a good way to end their last regular-season game at the Staples Centre. In back to back two matches players like Kyle Kuzma, Wesley Matthews and Talen Horton-Tucker have stepped up to earn the victory for the Lakers.
Kuzma, who was probably the difference-maker in this match, ended the game with 19 points, 10 boards and seven assists coming off the bench. He drove to the paint with intent and scored the game-winning bucket. “I just saw the floor was flat,” Kuzma said post-game. “Took my time. Waited for everyone to flatten out. He shaded me left, and I just made the play. Tried to get an angle. Worked out well.”
During the next possession, Matthews stripped the ball from Kelly Olynyk and that was more or less game over for the Rockets as they hardly had any time left on the clock.
It was a celebratory day for the Lakers and their fans as they unveiled their 17th Championship banner. Although the team did not play like champions, still they managed to eke out a victory.
“It meant a lot,” the 25-year-old said. “I’ve been here the longest. I’ve been here through some ugly times, some real ugly times. Whether it was the rookie here, second year, same crazy stuff. I’ve seen it all. So for me to be here from the jump, be a part of turning around the organization…it just means a lot. Being a kid from Flint, Michigan, I never really thought about raising banners in Staples Center, so it’s really surreal to me. I’m just really grateful that I’m able to play the game that I love and contribute at a high level to winning. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, a banner. It’s up there forever and it’s never going down, and I’ll always remember this moment.”
The Lakers now have two more matches remaining in the regular season which will be against the Indiana Pacers and the New Orleans Pelicans on the road. They will aim to win both the matches and try and get out of the play-ins which at the moment looks very tough.