The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 128-112 on Sunday, the first game of their Western Conference playoff series. Rui Hachimura had a career-best scoring effort in the playoffs with 29 points, including 21 in the second half, while LeBron James added 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Austin Reaves contributed an additional 23 points for the Lakers, including a run of nine baskets in a row as the game’s final minutes wound down. Anthony Davis ended with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while D’Angelo Russell finished with 19 points. However, he only scored two points in the play-in game that the Lakers won over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Memphis was led in scoring by Jaren Jackson Jr. with 31, while Desmond Bane finished with 22 points. Before departing the game with an injured right hand in the fourth quarter, Ja Morant had scored 18 points.
The Grizzlies had the best home record in the NBA at 35-6, but Los Angeles was able to take away their edge on their home floor. The FedEx Forum will host Game 2 on Wednesday.
When he made all four 3-point shots during the third quarter, the Japanese player Hachimura gave Los Angeles space to breathe. The only other time that Hachimura participated in the postseason was in 2021 when he was a member of the Washington team that was eliminated in the first round by Philadelphia. The Lakers made a deal with the Wizards in the middle of the season to acquire him.
After defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in round, the Los Angeles Lakers were awarded the seventh seed in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers only went up to the first round of the playoffs in 2022 after being defeated by the Phoenix Suns in the previous year’s first round.
To secure the number two seed in the tournament, Memphis completed 51 victories, marking its second season with at least 50 wins.
When Memphis struggled early on with their ballhandling, the Lakers jumped out to a lead of as much as ten points in the first half. Morant was forced to spend some time outside the paint due to Jarred Vanderbilt’s defensive efforts. But Memphis blew past the Lakers in the second quarter, posting a 38-27 scoring advantage to take a 65-59 lead into halftime.
Lakers: This will be the first time that Los Angeles faces Memphis in the playoffs… Due to an injury to his right arm, Davis had to leave the floor toward the end of the second quarter. It was around the beginning of the second half that he came back… After 8 minutes and 41 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Los Angeles committed their first turnover of the game. In another minute, it delivered its double blow… In the second quarter, James moved ahead of Robert Horry to take 24th place on the Los Angeles Lakers all-time postseason scoring chart.
Grizzlies: Steven Adams (right knee PCL sprain) and C/F Brandon Clarke (left Achilles tendon rupture) were ruled out of action, and it is anticipated that they will not participate in the playoffs. Morant played with a bandage on his right hand because of what coach Taylor Jenkins characterized as a contusion in his pregame availability. Morant’s right hand. When Morant fell awkwardly on his hand during the fourth quarter, which resulted in a charge being called on Davis, the hand injury flared up again.