The Los Angeles Lakers were able to secure a crucial win in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies with a 128-112 victory. Despite entering the fourth quarter with a six-point advantage, the Lakers were able to seal the victory owing to their supporting cast. Rui Hachimura equaled Mychal Thompson’s Lakers franchise record for most points by a substitute in a playoff game with nine points in the fourth quarter, while Austin Reaves went 5-for-5 in the fourth quarter and scored nine straight points to end with 23 points.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ main players, each attempted one shot in the first 11 minutes of the fourth quarter, allowing the bench guys to take over. James ended with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks, crediting the victory to the team’s supporting cast.
Davis scared the Lakers fans
Davis finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 3 steals, becoming the first player to achieve this postseason statline since Tim Duncan over 20 years ago. Davis, on the other hand, sustained a stinger to his right shoulder, forcing him to leave the game late in the second quarter. He was eventually allowed to return to the game.
Davis left the game with the Lakers behind by six points. In the third quarter, Hachimura hit 4-for-4 from three-point range, allowing the Lakers to retake control. Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane acknowledged that the team’s game plan was to force Hachimura to hit shots, and he delivered, scoring nine of his 29 points in the fourth quarter.
Undrafted rookie Reaves and Hachimura lead Lakers to statement win over Grizzlies
Reaves, an undrafted player out of college, was instrumental in the victory, hitting five consecutive shots in the fourth quarter, including nine straight points to seal the victory. It was the first time since 1988 that the Lakers had four players score 20 points or more in the playoffs.
Darvin Ham, Lakers coach, said the team used the four-day vacation between their play-in win over Minnesota and Game 1 against Memphis to re-calibrate. Despite the statement victory, LeBron James noted the Lakers’ 16 turnovers, which resulted in 15 points for the Grizzlies, and stated that the team needs to improve.
In Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers’ supporting cast came through, securing a critical win and seizing home-court advantage. Davis and James may have had a limited fourth-quarter contribution, but their teammates showed that they can deliver when it means the most. While the Lakers’ victory was a statement win, they still have work to do and will need to step up even more in the future games to advance in the playoffs.