Having won six of their last seven games, the Los Angeles Lakers currently sit at 17-10, good for fifth in the Western Conference. Their latest stretch of good play has in part been defined by the resurgence of Kyle Kuzma after a less-than-ideal start to the season for him.
Kuzma enters play Thursday averaging 21.6 points to go along with 8.8 rebounds over the past seven games. Another thing that’s helped the Lakers in this stretch is winning five straight home games to put them at 11-4 at Staples Center this season.
Now, they embark on a four-game, eight-day road trip that starts with a tough matchup against the Houston Rockets, and is followed by tilts against the Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets.
“Just keep the same mentality: defense first. I think that’s why we’ve been winning a lot lately,” Kuzma said of how the Lakers can carry their momentum onto the road. “We’ve improved our defensive efficiency, rebounding more and we’re hitting more threes.”
Kuzma was then asked how he would deem the road trip a successful one. “I mean, to win all four,” he said. “They’re all very winnable as long as we play our game.” Kuzma said. “Obviously, it’s hard to win four straight on the road in the NBA, but just try to win as much as possible.”
The Lakers head into Thursday’s game 6-6 away from Staples Center. Kuzma knows this, and was able to recall some wise words when asked about what it takes to win on the road.
“My college coach always used to say that having a defensive mindset, making free throws and not turning over the ball,” he said. “I believe that. They’re things that translate to any level on the road. If we can do that, we’ll have a chance.”
The Lakers have absolutely struggled with free throws and turnovers, as they rank in the bottom six in both of those categories. They will have to tighten things up, but a 4-0 road trip could be possible if they remain focused.