The Los Angeles Lakers improved to 3-1 in the 2019-20 NBA season thanks to a dominant win over the Memphis Grizzlies, 120-91.
While the Grizzlies aren’t exactly the cream of the crop, the win told fans a lot about the new-look Lakers and their newest All-Star player. On this episode of the Lakers Nation podcast, host Trevor Lane takes a look at three things that he took away from the game.
First and foremost, Davis’ monstrous performance can’t go overlooked. He was unstoppable from the start but really kicked it into high gear in the third quarter when the Lakers blew open the game. Even with an aching shoulder due to a dunk attempt against the Charlotte Hornets, Davis looked like a man amongst boys for much of the night.
The Grizzlies had no answer for him, fouling him over and over again rather than give up a sure bucket. Davis made them pay by converting 26-of-27 free throws, setting a new team record in the process for makes in a single game. Davis also chipped in two blocks for good measure.
However, Davis’ explosion wasn’t the only noteworthy thing to come out of the game. The Lakers actually started the game extremely slowly and for much of the first half, the Grizzlies actually got the better of them. Los Angeles went into halftime leading by only two, and Memphis actually took the lead in the early minutes of the third quarter.
That was when the Lakers flipped the switch and took control of the game. Their energy level on the defensive end hit another gear, as LeBron James and Davis began flying all over the court pressuring the ball. The rest of the team followed suit, forcing the Grizzlies into costly turnovers and easy baskets for the Lakers.
While coasting early and then attempting to turn it on in the second half isn’t a good habit to have in general, it is something that some of the top teams in league history have been able to do. Against a weak Grizzlies team, the Lakers proved that they could hit another level when it was time to win.
Finally, the dynamic between James and Davis just keeps getting stronger. In this game, fans saw James have no problem taking a back seat to Davis, which isn’t always the case when All-Star players share a team. It’s a credit to James’ temperament as he slowly passes the torch to Davis.