Lakers’ Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma talked basketball until 5 am in OKC hotel
The Los Angeles Lakers, Rajon Rondo, and Kyle Kuzma had a tough task ahead of them on Saturday, taking on the tough Oklahoma City Thunder on the road minus their two superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James missed the game due to flu-like symptoms while Davis sat out his second straight game with a gluteus maximus contusion.
The Frank Vogel-coached squad with Rajon Rondo and Kyle Kuzma still passed the challenge with flying colors, coming away with a gutsy 125-110 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The win stretched their streak to eight consecutive games.
The team’s inspiring play might have something to do with a late-night bonding prior to the match.
Per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, some of the Laker players stayed up until five in the morning in their OKC hotel and just talked about basketball. That group included Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo, who both played their best game of the season on Saturday.
The Lakers got to their hotel in OKC around 3 a.m. local time late last night after flying from Dallas. Rajon Rondo said a group of 6 or 7 of the guys stayed up talking about ball until about 5 in the morning — including him and Kuzma. Then they combined for 57 pts vs. OKC.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 12, 2020
Hounded by multiple trade rumors for weeks, Kyle Kuzma tuned out the noise and poured in a season-high 36 points and seven rebounds in 40 minutes. He shot an efficient 15-of-24 from the field (62.5 percent) and went 4-for-6 from downtown (66.7 percent). Rajon Rondo, on the other hand, went two assists shy of a triple-double, tallying 21 points, 12 boards, and eight dimes.
The Lakers (32-7) still lord over the Western Conference standings thanks in large part to their cohesiveness both on and off the court. It is also worth noting that the team stayed in the infamous haunted OKC hotel, which may have factored into their late-night team huddle.
Regardless of their motives, the team’s chemistry will indeed be tested in the coming weeks, especially with Anthony Davis expected to get some time off after that scary fall last week. Rajon Rondo and Kyle Kuzma will need to come to the forefront, as this season — laden with potential — moves forward for the Los Angeles Lakers.