Lakers are looking for 2-0 series lead against Grizzlies

The Lakers took a crucial Game 1 in Memphis, 128-112, last Sunday.

We’re going into Game 2 of the best-of-seven series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies.

We’re probably still wondering what the hell happened in Game 1. Not a bad thing, of course. Rui Hachimura (29 points) became volcanic with his perimeter shooting. And then Austin Reaves (23 points with 14 being in the fourth quarter) said he was him after he took the Lakers home to a 1-0 series lead. All the while, LeBron James was a bystander throughout all of this. It was weird, it was hilarious, and it was awesome all at the same time.

Anthony Davis still had eye-popping numbers but not like a usual 20-20 or something. He had 7 blocks in a virtuoso defensive performance. Never ask Davis out to prom because he’ll only reject you repeatedly.

And with D’Angelo Russell having a better game than the play-in and the team overall shutting the Grizzlies down in the last few minutes of the contest, the Lakers have the momentum going.

But the Grizzlies are the second seed for a reason, right?

The bad news is that they’re just so beat up. I’ll remind people that Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke are out with their own injuries and it depletes the bears’ frontline. Not only that but Ja Morant hurt his hand trying to yam on Davis in the fourth quarter. It ended up being a soft tissue bruise and Morant is a game-time decision. I hope he plays but it’s too bad he’s likely not going to be 100 percent. Still, Ja being on the court is certainly better than no Ja for Memphis.

Jaren Jackson, Jr. is the newly-minted Defensive Player of the Year and he had quite the game last Sunday with 31 points. Desmond Bane still found his way to 22 points but he didn’t shoot particularly well. And they’ll need more from everyone’s best friend, Dillon Brooks, as well as Morant’s back-up, Tyus Jones. Xavier Tillman, who is starting in place of Adams, was decidedly a non-factor in Game 1. I expect him to be more involved on Wednesday night.

The Lakers hope to get repeated performances from Hachimura and Reaves. Do I expect Hachimura to get 29 again? Not really; Bane challenged him to do it again. But Rui should present himself as a threat every time he gets the ball. Reaves scoring 23 once more? That’s more likely but it’s because he’s been extremely consistent since he’s started. He averaged 18.3 points and 6.1 assists in the last 10 games of the regular season so he’s certainly more than capable.

L.A. also outboarded the Grizzlies in Game 1, 45-34. I expect them to continue to take advantage of the shorthanded Memphis frontcourt. Memphis did shoot better from three in Game 1 (13 for 36, .361) than their regular season outings (24 for 97, .247) but L.A. surprisingly outgunned them from afar (16 for 37, .432).

Davis should be able to set the pace for the Lakers on both sides of the ball, just like he did in Game 1. Grizzlies are going to send their guys at him so they should be quicker with the ball. Los Angeles oughta keep the ball moving and put Davis in the pick-and-roll more since he’ll likely be doubled on the post. If most of their options are snuffed out, they always have LeBron James as back-up. Wait. What?

This is a huge game for the Lakers and for them to demoralize the Grizzlies, they shouldn’t be satisfied with a split. Pound them on the glass, make the open shots they’re being given, and have that finishing kick like they did on Game 1. A Game 2 win would make the mountain even higher for the Grizzlies. And if that happens, well… let’s not look that far ahead just yet.

First things first, take care of business again in Tennessee.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x