Kuzma, Lillard Have Big Games In First Week

Oct 24, 2018, 3:28 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2018, 9:39 am
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores on a layup past Pau Ga...
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores on a layup past Pau Gasol #16 of the San Antonio Spurs during a 143-142 Laker loss at Staples Center on October 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA season has arrived for four players with ties to the state of Utah. Former Ute Kyle Kuzma started his sophomore campaign with LeBron James on the Lakers roster.

Kuzma’s college teammate Jakob Poeltl began his third season, his first in a new location after being traded from Toronto to the San Antonio Spurs in the offseason.

Former Utah point guard Delon Wright joined forces with Kawhi Leonard and are playing under new head coach Nick Nurse. Wright is entering his fourth season in the NBA.

Former Weber State guard Damian Lillard is back with the Portland Trail Blazers for his 7th season as the cornerstone of the franchise.

Here’s how the locals did in their first week of the NBA season:

Former Utes

Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers (0-3)

It’s was a tough start to the season for the Lakers after losing their first three games. Kyle Kuzma scored 15 points on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The former Ute was placed in the starting lineup against the San Antonio Spurs in place of Brandon Ingram, who is suspended for his actions in the fight with Chris Paul and James Harden of the Houston Rockets. Kuzma led the Lakers in scoring with 37 points, he played 45 minutes in their 143-142 overtime loss to the Spurs.

NEXT UP: The Lakers will play four games in the next week, three on the road against the Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves. Their only home game is against the Denver Nuggets.

Jakob Poeltl – San Antonio Spurs (2-1)

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich elected to start Poeltl for the first two games. He scored four points in 21 minutes in those games, but did not play in their overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

NEXT UP: The Spurs will play three straight at home during week two, hosting the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks.

Delon Wright – Toronto Raptors (4-0)

Wright did not play in the Raptors first four games as he is recovering from a thigh injury. He is expected to be available to play during week two.

NEXT UP: Four games are on the schedule for Toronto, three of them are at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers. Their only road game is against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Former Wildcats

Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers (2-1)

Lillard spoiled LeBron James’ Lakers debut as he scored 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter. The Blazers beat the Lakers, 128-119 at home.

Their only loss of week one was in overtime to the Washington Wizards. Lillard led the team with 29 points to go with 8 rebounds and 8 assists and hit 13 of his 15 free throws. Lillard averaged 28.7 points per game in the first three games.

NEXT UP: Portland will be on the road for four straight games with Orlando, Miami, Indiana and Houston.

Locals in the NBA

Kyle Ireland and Ben Anderson, KSL Sports

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Kuzma, Lillard Have Big Games In First Week