Lakers Film Breakdown: Preparing For Pivotal Game 4 Against Grizzlies
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers head into Game 4 on Monday night coming off a massive 111-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 3. The Lakers never trailed throughout this game and made pivotal adjustments following their Game 2 loss.

One change was the Lakers finally went back to having Anthony Davis matchup with Xavier Tillman, allowing him to roam and impact shots at the rim a lot more. Davis would finish the game with 17 rebounds, two steals,and three blocks while chipping in 31 points.

The Lakers also adjusted their ball-screen coverage for Desmond Bane, playing a lot more traditional drop coverage and helping off any non-shooters. The Lakers also found success going to their “Double Drag” series, which the Grizzlies struggled to counter until later in the game. So let’s dive into the film and see what the Lakers did to get a massive Game 3 victory.

Game 3 Breakdown

Austin Reaves has done an excellent job guarding Bane due to solid screen navigation. So that’s what we see in this play. Reaves does a great job not “dying” on the screen and fights back into the possession to get the block, and Bane misses the shot. Plays like these are what Lakers fans have grown accustomed to with Reaves and why he’s become such a fan favorite.


Similar play here with a Bane ball screen and Davis in a drop. Reaves does a good job fighting over the screen while Jarred Vanderbilt and D’Angelo Russell do a good job helping off non-shooters such as Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant. The Grizzlies’ offensive possession ends in a Brooks three, which is a win for the Lakers’ defense.


The Lakers found a lot of success going to their double-drag ball-screen series in Game 3. The Lakers do a great job setting up this play and having it look similar to their “Wedge Pick & Roll” series. Reaves is in a position where he can quickly screen for Davis to initiate their Wedge Ball-Screen. However, he flips his screen and turns it into a Double-Drag pick & roll. Reaves pops out and Russell does a good job getting downhill and finishes the layup.


Same thing in this play. Double Drag pick & roll. However, Davis and Reaves both “slip” and “ghost” their screens. To help counter how the Grizzlies’ defense helps from the nail, LeBron James does a great job making a stampede cut and attacking straight away on the pass from Russell. This leads to LeBron getting an easy blow-by at the rim and finishing the layup. The Lakers have continuously punished the Grizzlies’ help defense from the nail throughout the series, and it’s on the Memphis coaching staff to adjust.


Same concept here, once again utilizing Davis as the roller with Reaves setting the first screen and with Russell as the ball-handler. Russell does a great job on this play, making an insane no-look pass to Davis on target and the latter finishes the easy dunk. Again, the Lakers did a great job in Game 3 utilizing Davis and his rim gravity to put pressure on the rim. And give credit to the Lakers ball handlers such as James, Reaves and Russell for making the correct read more times than not.

Once again, the Lakers attacking the Grizzlies help defense at the nail. Rui Hachimura’s defender is at the nail trying to help defend a Russell drive. Russell does a great job making the simple and correct basketball play kicking it out to Hachimura, who knocks down the open 3-pointer. If the Lakers can continue to punish the Grizzlies for this defensive coverage, that bodes well for the Lakers’ hopes of winning this series.


To quickly discuss Morant’s incredible fourth quarter, I am not worried about him hitting threes. I would review some of the coverages if he continues to hit 3-pointers, however, as of right now, I’m not changing any of my defensive coverages on Morant. After three games, the tactical advantage thus far belongs to the Lakers, and let’s see if that can continue the rest of the series.

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