Instant Replay: Kuzma Blames Earthquake for Air-Balled Technical Free-Throw
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former University of Utah star and Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma achieved a rare feat on Monday night — he air-balled a free-throw.
With 7:11 remaining in the second quarter, and the Lakers leading the Golden State Warriors 44-34, James Wiseman was assessed a technical foul for an elbow that caught Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell’s on the chin
After a review, the Lakers chose to put Kuzma on the line for the foul shot, which he promptly air-balled wide left.
The Warriors' bench after the air ball 💀 💀 💀 pic.twitter.com/lLqUr9NbTg
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 16, 2021
The air-ball from Kuzma drew a strong reaction from the Warriors bench who ducked and hid as not only did the shot miss the rim entirely, the alignment for the free-throw fell drastically astray.
Perhaps even stranger was Lakers coach Frank Vogel’s decision to let Kuzma shoot the free-throw in the first place. On a technical foul, the team shooting the free-throw gets to choose which player gets to go to the line to attempt the shot as long as that player was already on the floor.
Kuzma is shooting just 64 percent from the line this season, the fourth-worst of any Lakers player to attempt a foul shot. To make matters worse, he was the second-worst free-throw shooter on the floor ahead of only Alfonzo McKinnie.
LeBron James, Harrell, and second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker were also on the floor, and all three shoot a higher free-throw percentage than Kuzma this season.
However, Kuzma was awarded the free-throw attempt, only to see it miss as badly as any player could standing just 15 feet away from the hoop.
After the game, the forward blamed an earthquake for the miss.
“San Francisco had a 3.5 magnitude earthquake,” Kuzma said according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.
“I got scared, and it went far off to the left.”
Kyle Kuzma blamed his airball free throw to an apparent earthquake in San Francisco: "Started rumbling and I got scared."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 16, 2021
The good news is, Kuzma is unlikely to miss another freebie during his career. After Monday’s shot, the Lakers coaching staff probably won’t ever ask him to attempt a technical free-throw again.