Lakers close with 15-0 run, steal Game 1 from Memphis

Lakers take a 1-0 lead from the #2 seed Memphis Grizzlies

This was probably not surprising but the way it probably happened was.

The Lakers have stolen one in Memphis as they defeated the Grizzlies, 128-112. They take a 1-0 lead in this best-of-7 series.

I questioned if Anthony Davis can be stopped by the depleted Grizzlies frontcourt. And it didn’t turn out that way as Davis got off to a fast start with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and three blocks in the first 9 minutes and change. Rui Hachimura and Troy Brown, Jr. made buckets to boost the lead to 30-20.

The Grizzlies got it going in the second quarter, though. Back-to-back threes by Desmond Bane and Santi Aldama put the Grizzlies up, 52-50.

And then we got a scare as Anthony Davis got tangled up with Jaren Jackson, Jr. He then said, “I can’t move my arm!” before leaving the game. The Grizzlies took advantage and closed the half well to take a 65-59 lead. Davis would come back, though.

It was all about Rui Hachimura in the third quarter. While Davis took care of the defensive end, Rui couldn’t miss from three as he made four straight threes to give the Lakers a rare closing kick in the third quarter. They had a 37-25 advantage in that period.

This might have been the turning point of the game. Ja Morant drove in and tried to put one on Anthony Davis. Morant got called for a charge and hurt his already-nicked hand. He wouldn’t come back in the game and we’ll see if he comes back to play for Game 2 or sometime in the near future.

Still, the Grizzlies continued fighting. Jaren Jackson would score 8 of the next 11 Memphis points. His three would cut the deficit to 113-112. Unfortunately for the bears, those aforementioned next 11 Memphis points were also their last of the game.

Austin Reaves caught fire. Before he went on that roll, he made a sweet behind-the-back pass to the hot Hachimura for three.

Then Reaves would go on to score 9 straight points for the Lakers. He spearheaded what would be a 15-0 closing run. The Lakers turned a close game into a tally that looked like a blowout. Los Angeles has stolen a road game.

As expected, the Lakers outrebounded the Grizzlies, 53-40. Memphis is really hurting up front without starting center Steven Adams and back-up center Brandon Clarke. They also really hurt the Grizzlies on second chance points, 22-10. Memphis shot decently from three as they didn’t shoot well against the Lakers in their season series but the Lakers (likely buoyed by Hachimura’s scorching day) had three more threes than Memphis. Lakers were 16 for 37 (.432) while Memphis was 13 for 36 (.361).

But it was all about Rui Hachimura having quite the game.

He led the team in scoring with 29 points on 11 for 14 shooting. Austin Reaves scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter (he even yelled, “I’M HIM!” after a bucket). Anthony Davis was everywhere: 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, 7 blocks, and 3 steals. LeBron James had 21 points, 11 boards, 5 assists, three blocks, and two steals himself but it was so weird to see him be a non-factor in that finishing run.

Jaren Jackson, Jr. did all he could with 31 points. Desmond Bane didn’t particularly shoot well but he finished with 22-5-6. Ja Morant shot well but I didn’t feel he made much of an impact even with 18 points. I sure do hope he’s okay, though. If Ja can’t go, Tyus Jones can and he’s so reliable that, sometimes, I don’t think the Grizz miss a beat without Ja in the short-term.

These games are for real now and maybe the Lakers can show that they are, too. Game 1 was certainly a good start. Let’s see if they can continue doing this on Game 2.

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