He stayed true to his pledge, and his teammates put the pressure on the Grizzlies from the opening tip on, and they were able to win the series 4-2 and smash the No. 2-seeded Grizzlies with a score of 125-85.
In Game 5, it took James 17 attempts to make five shots. On Friday, he started the game by making seven of his first eight shots, and he capped off his dominating performance in the first half with a two-handed reverse slam in transition.
At the half, the Lakers had a 17-point lead, and James had 16 points, one more than his total in Game 5. He ended the game with 22 points, six assists, and five rebounds, and in the process, he created history by winning the 40th playoff series of his career, which tied him with Derek Fisher for the most of any player in NBA history.
As the Lakers extended their lead to as many as 40 points in the second half of Game 6, the crowd at Arena could relax and enjoy themselves to the fullest. The team celebrated its first home win to finish a playoff series since 2012 when it defeated the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of the first round. The victory brought on the applause, which had been building up for quite some time.
D’Angelo Russell, the point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, joined LeBron James in his quest for forgiveness. After shooting only 4-for-11 on Wednesday in Memphis, he had a phenomenal start to this game, shooting 5-for-8 in the first quarter alone. After the game was over, Russell finished with a game-high 31 points on 12-for-17 shooting, which was a new career high in scoring for him in the playoffs. He had never shot more than 50% in a playoff game before, but he managed to pull himself out of a postseason shooting rut in a major manner.
And he did it with Kyrie Irving, James’ former teammate with the Cleveland Cavaliers, sitting courtside just across from the Lakers’ bench. Kyrie Irving is now playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
On Friday, the Lakers succeeded in all their endeavors. Their offense had a field goal percentage of 53.8%. Their defense was able to limit Memphis’s shooting to 30.2%.
Austin Reaves displayed the kind of all-around floor game that has won him fans in Los Angeles, finishing with 11 points, eight assists, and six rebounds in this game. Jarred Vanderbilt was 3-for-8 from 3-point range and scored nine points for the Grizzlies while also contributing to the harassment that led to Grizzlies standout Ja Morant shooting 3-for-16 from the field. Rui Hachimura’s performance off the bench was impressive once again. He scored six points on three of five field goal attempts, including two dunks that had the crowd excited.
And Anthony Davis, whose injury troubles have typified the team’s despair over the previous three seasons, was greeted with a triumphant “AD! AD!” cry from the fans when he scrambled off the court to retrieve a loose ball late in the third quarter with the Lakers leading by 30 points. The chant occurred while the Lakers were up by 30 points.
Davis, who completed the game with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks, lifted both hands in the air and begged the crowd for more. Davis had a shooting percentage of 6 for 9 for the game.
With more than nine minutes left in the fourth quarter and Los Angeles leading 103-71, both clubs decided to withdraw their starting lineups. It was uncommon for the Lakers to win by as much as they did on Friday during the regular season, much alone in a game considered the most important of the year.
The Lakers became just the sixth team in the tournament’s history to ever achieve this feat, and they became the first No. 7 seed to pull off an opening-round shock since the San Antonio Spurs in 2010. To determine who will play in the second round, they must wait until Sunday to find out who won Game 7 between the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors.
After getting off to a rough start (2-10) to begin the season, the Lakers have won 14 of their past 18 games, ranging from the final stretch of the regular season through their play-in victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves to their series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Following the Miami Heat’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks earlier in the week, the Los Angeles Lakers became only the second team in the history of the play-in tournament to advance to the second round. The play-in tournament was first held in 2020.
James and Davis won their fifth consecutive postseason series when both players were healthy.
Los Angeles won three of the next four games after the Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks referred to LeBron James as “old” during the Lakers’ defeat in Game 2 against the Grizzlies in Memphis.
On the floor before Game 3 in Los Angeles, James confronted Brooks. ESPN was informed by a person who was in close proximity to the dialogue. James’s warning to Brooks essentially boiled down to the following: “Are you ready for what’s coming for you tonight?”
Brooks needed to prepare. The Grizzlies needed more time to be ready for the challenge.
The postseason play of James, now 38 years old, continues.