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Lakers' Kyle Kuzma On Game-Winner: 'Jesus Could Be In Front Of Me And I’d Still Shoot'

Kuzma made a game-winning three-pointer with 0.7 seconds left against the Denver Nuggets on Monday to snap a three-game losing streak.

Kyle Kuzma didn't hesitate. 

With the score tied at 121-121 and 0.7 seconds left, Kuzma shot a three-pointer over the outstretched arms of Bol Bol to lift the Lakers to a 124-121 win over the Denver Nuggets, snapping a three-game losing streak. 

Kuzma smiled and ran. Rookie Talen Horton-Tucker nearly fell of a courtside advertisement he was standing on near the team's bench. 

LeBron James interrupted Kuzma's walk-off interview by throwing a towel in his face and yelling, "Hell yeah." He then body slammed him, before repeating once more, "Hell yeah, Kuz."

J.R. Smith chased Kuzma around the locker room, dumping a bottle of water on his head. 

It was quite a night for the 25-year-old power forward who is in his third season in the league. 

Even though Kuzma had an up and down season and his name has been on the chopping block since the Lakers acquired him from Brooklyn in a draft-day trade in 2017, Kuzma has always believed in himself. 

"Jesus could be in front of me and I’d probably still shoot," Kuzma said Monday. 

The Lakers had practiced that end-of-game play many times behind closed doors in which James inbounds the ball and then serves as a decoy as Anthony Davis kicks it out to Kuzma. 

When Lakers coach Frank Vogel decided to use it Monday, Kuzma knew he wasn't going to miss. 

"Funny part is, I told rook, 'I'm calling game,'" Kuzma said of Horton-Tucker during his walk-off interview with Spectrum SportsNet. 

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The Lakers have made no secret of how important Kuzma is to the team. 

"In order for us to win a championship, he has to be our third-best player," James said. "And if I’m struggling or AD’s struggling, he has to be our second-best player on any given night. It’s just, we can’t win a championship if Kuz' doesn’t play well."

Kuzma, who started in place of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, had 25 points on 11-for-16 shooting, including making three of his five three-point attempts. James had 29 points and 12 assists and Davis added 27 points on nine-for-15 shooting. 

It was the third time this season that James, Davis and Kuzma each had 20 or more points in a game. 

Kuzma has played very well since entering the NBA bubble, saying the four-month hiatus gave his body a chance to heal. He missed training camp and the first four games of the season after suffering a stress reaction in his left foot during USA Basketball training camp last summer. He then missed another five games after sustaining a sprained left ankle in December.

Since entering the bubble, things have been different for him.  

"I came prepared," Kuzma said. "I came ready. I came in shape. Put a lot of work in during the quarantine on my shot. Just my body and overall things. So coming in, they saw a different pep in my step and from there, I just kept it going. It feels good when your teammates trust you, and it’s definitely a little bit night and day from the first part of the season to now."

Kuzma is ready. 

He's privately shown his teammates what he can do for a while now. 

And on Monday, he sent a message to the rest of the league.

"He can be huge for us," Vogel said.