);
Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James on Kyle Kuzma: 'In order for us to win a championship, he has to be our third-best player'

The Los Angeles Lakers brought their three-game skid to a halt, thanks to Kyle Kuzma's game-winning performance against the Denver Nuggets.

With 0.4 seconds remaining, Kuzma buried the clutch three-pointer to put the Lakers up 124-121, combining on an ATO with LeBron James and Anthony Davis to perfection.

Kuzma finished with 25 points on an efficient 11-of-16 shooting from the field and was a +16 for the game, the second-highest plus/minus of any Lakers player - with James highlighting Kuzma's importance to their championship aspirations, post-game.

"In order for us to win a championship, he has to be our third-best player," James said of Kuzma.

"If I'm struggling or if A.D. is struggling he has to be our second-best player on any given night. We can't win a championship if Kuz doesn't play well."

James recorded 29 points and 12 assists in the win, while Davis added 27, making it the first time since 2013 that three Lakers players have scored 25+ points in a single game.

"We've been running a lot of ATO's, in-game situations in practice and Kuz has been the recipient of a lot of those actions and tonight it paid off," James added.

"Big-time shot big confidence booster for Kuz and to know that we have another option to go down the stretch when we need to."

Kuzma has played largely off the bench this season and made the most of a rare starting opportunity against the Nuggets. With the post-season on the horizon, the 25-year-old is full of confidence ahead of his first playoff campaign.

"I'm starting on most teams in this league and everyone knows it," Kuzma said. "It just so happens I'm playing behind the two best players in the NBA."

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