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Kyle Kuzma says Lakers are missing Lonzo Ball on defense: ‘We kind of feed off of him’

Dunk Wire logo Dunk Wire 2/11/2019 Christian Rivas
a crowd of people watching a football game: Getty © Getty Getty

On Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Lakers allowed the 76ers to score 143 points through four quarters, the most points they've allowed in a game this season, according to basketball-reference.

Offensively, they were able to keep up, but their defense let the game slip away from them. It's for that reason Lakers head coach Luke Walton called on his team to rediscover the "passion" they played defense with earlier this season after the game.

But how exactly do they get back to playing like a top-10 defensive team? By getting Lonzo Ball back, for starters, according to Kyle Kuzma ( via Spectrum SportsNet):

"Getting Zo back into the mix, that's definitely one thing. He's had a hell of a season defensively and we kind of feed off of him. He's picking up 94 feet, getting stops all over the floor, making great defensive instincts. Regardless of not having him or not, it's still no excuse. We, as a team, just have to play defense. It's all about effort, communication and getting the new guys to get into it as well."

It's no secret that Ball is one of the best defenders on the Lakers' roster. In fact, he's one of the best defensive point guards in the league, according to ESPN, who has Ball ranked seventh in defensive real plus-minus.

However, if the Lakers are going to survive the next month or so without their starting point guard, they're going to have to start showing more effort on the defensive end than they have as of late. In the nine games the Lakers have played without Ball, they're ranked 28th in the league in defensive rating.

For the sake of their playoff hopes, let's hope Ball is back on the court sooner rather than later to anchor the Lakers' defense.

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