The Los Angeles Lakers welcomed back Rajon Rondo of Phoenix against one of the season's most surprising teams, and the game played out exactly how to think given how each team's seasons have gone. The Lakers ended the victory thanks to some late-game heroes from Kyle Kuzma, 123-115.
Rondo had been some version of Doubtful for about a month before he finally debuted on Tuesday night in Phoenix and mostly offered what the Lakers were hoping to get. The Lakers offense (especially in a few minutes with LeBron James on the bench) looked better, but the defense was significantly worse.
To be clear, I'm not just adding it to Rondo. Just an observation. Cold. While it's fair to wonder what adding up to 50 minutes per game by him and Kyle Kuzma can make the defense overall. The Lakers have little room for the defense to slip, as long as the offense gets significantly better. If this is how it plays out, their add-ons would easily be a net positive.
Speaking of Kuzma, this was easily his best game from start to finish of the season. He made two monster trips to help seal the victory late on the fourth through because I looked like a complete idiot for questioning his being in the game . He finished with 23 points and was a +9 on the night, something you haven't been able to say so far this year.
The story of the night was the Phoenix 3-point shooting that is the opposite of the Lakers physical. LA. ended up with 70 points in the paint when Phoenix hit another six in total three. This is the mathematical equation that the Lakers often find themselves struggling with, as modern basketball requires three-point shooting ability and so much of Laker's rotation is inconsistent from that range at best.
Per Spectrum broadcast, the Lakers have 39 assists the most since 2009
– Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) November 13, 2019
L.A. will look to build on this win directly on Wednesday night, when they take on Golden State at home. Given how busy Davis has been and the extra bumps and bruises he got Tuesday night – leaving the game to have his ribs taped at one point – it will be interesting to see if he plays the second night of a back-to- back. Wednesday's game tip at 7pm from the Staples Center.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes Spotify Stitcher  or Google Podcasts . You can scream at this author on Twitter @AnthonyIrwinLA .