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Luke Walton says The Rock motivated Kyle Kuzma to play through injury

Kyle Kuzma

The Los Angeles Lakers evened up the regular season series against the Denver Nuggets thanks to a heroic performance from Kyle Kuzma, who posted 26 points and 13 rebounds, just like his counterpart Julius Randle.

Kuzma hurt his ankle in the first half, but kept the foot on the throttle for 39 minutes, helping his Lakers to a big fourth quarter run to overcome a five-point deficit entering the period.

The Lakers had brought actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to give the team some words of inspiration, ones coach Luke Walton thinks permeated through his young rookie.

“Maybe it was The Rock that motivated him to fight through that injury,” said Walton, according to Ryan Ward of ClutchPoints. “Kuzma is a big wrestling fan. He showed a lot of toughness & the way he… he sprained his ankle and kept telling me, ‘Coach, I’m ready to go , I’m ready to go.’”

Kuzma seems to have battled out of an ugly February slump, where he shot a combined 37.9 percent from the field, after proving to be one of the most efficient wings for the Lakers.

He’s now shot over 50 percent in four of his seven games this month, including a blistering 43.6 percent from deep — a major part of his unique toolset as a dynamic forward.

The 22-year-old Michigander is having a much better season than most expected with averages of 15.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in his rookie season.

The Lakers have continued to pile up the wins down the stretch, with eight victories in their last 10 games.