One of the biggest reasons for the Los Angeles Lakers’ dominant victory over the Memphis Grizzlies was the effort of their reserves. It was Rui Hachimura who led the way on this night, shooting 8-of-10 from the field and making all four of his 3-pointers on his way to a 23-point game.
Coincidentally, it was his performance against the Grizzlies in the playoffs last season which put the world on notice and now it is Memphis once again who was the recipient of his best performance of the year.
Hachimura has been a bit inconsistent to start the season but has been focusing on his aggression when he enters the game in order to get himself back to the level he showed last postseason.
“Just being more aggressive because when I was watching the games, I feel like the first quarter is really, we’d be talking about the first quarter is always the key,” Hachimura said. “I think we lost the last like 10 games in the first quarter. So I was watching it. And so then, like, when I’m coming out from the bench, and on the first quarter, I think, I was thinking like, ‘OK, I gotta bring the energy,’ it’s just, I gotta change the game.
“It’s either defensively, offensively, rebound, everything. So I was just just watching it and that’s why I was like, in my head, when I was out I was just in my head, like, I was kind of practicing it how I get into the game. And I think since I came back, that’s what I’ve been doing.”
The Lakers’ first quarter issues have been an ongoing issue this season, so if the team is already down double-digits when Hachimura would enter the game, it makes sense that he would come in with that mindset of trying to do everything to chance the momentum. But that can often lead to the opposite effect.
Against Memphis, everything went perfectly as the Lakers tied a franchise record with 22 made 3-pointers. Hachimura believes this was simply a matter of knocking down the shots as they have been getting great looks all season long.
“I feel like it’s all good looks. It’s just make them,” Hachimura added. “I think, of course, Bron and AD have been getting all the attention from the defense. We’ve been getting easy looks. I think everybody knows that playing with the Lakers comes with pressure. This is for new guys. It’s a little different.
“I felt that when I came last year when I got traded, but once you get used to it, it’s just easy looks. Bron and AD always get the attention and we get the free looks. DLo has been doing a good job of facilitating the defense. Offensively he has been looking for a teammate. So yeah, I think it’s gonna be fine.”
As Hachimura noted, playing with the Lakers brings a different type of pressure, but with LeBron and Davis on the team, the looks are going to be there so they just have to keep knocking them down.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham wants Rui Hachimura to be more aggressive and assertive
Hachimura focusing on his aggression is no accident as it is something Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has spoken about previously.
“I just think having Rui [Hachimura] on the floor and aggressive and with an aggressive mentality is the Rui we all prefer. I don’t know if it’s a difference,” Ham said. “He’s had big games off the bench, he’s had big games when he’s asked to be a starter. So I just think the common denominator is him being aggressive and assertive and active on both sides of the ball.”
Hachimura echoed these sentiments and whether it is offensively, defensively, rebounding or anything else in between, the Lakers need him to be aggressive to be at his best.
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