Kyle Kuzma Says Lakers Have to Erase Their Memory After Game 1 Loss to Blazers

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 19, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma (0) is congratulated by LeBron James after hitting a game-winning 3-pointer against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 124-121. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference has found itself down 1-0 in its first-round playoff series.

So what can the Los Angeles Lakers do after falling to the Portland Trail Blazers 100-93 in Game 1 on Tuesday? Power forward Kyle Kuzma says they just need to "erase" their poor shooting from their minds.

"You've got to erase your memory," Kuzma told reporters after the game. "That's part of being confident ... I like to say, 'Just shoot till you get hot,' and I think we have that capability."

The Lakers shot 35.1 percent from the field Tuesday, though Kuzma was one of the bright spots for Los Angeles. The 25-year-old notched 14 points and eight rebounds, but even he struggled to find his shot, going just 5-of-14 on field goals.

It was Los Angeles' worst shooting percentage at any point this season.

Of the club's 19 losses this year, eight have come with the team hitting less than 44 percent of its field goals, and the Lakers haven't lost a game this year when shooting above 50 percent. Most troubling of all, against the Portland team that's sunk plenty of opponents from behind the arc, L.A. went just 5-for-32 from three.

Even with LeBron James posting a triple-double (23 points, 17 rebounds, 16 assists), it couldn't make up for the shots Los Angeles missed.

James told reporters he and his teammates had "really good looks" but didn't hit them.

That's where Kuzma's philosophy comes into play.

If the Lakers can "erase" Tuesday's performance, if they can keep shooting without getting discouraged and continue to put pressure on Portland's defense, they can battle back against a Blazers team that's been in playoff mode for a few weeks now.

Los Angeles averaged 48.0 percent from the field and 34.9 percent all throughout the season. With James confident the Lakers are getting good looks, they'll just need to continue firing until they find that rhythm again.