LeBron James Glad Guys Stepped Up In Lakers’ Game 1 Win Against Grizzlies But Understands Need To Clean Stuff Up
LeBron James Jaren Jackson Jr Lakers
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The Los Angeles Lakers made a statement in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, taking home court from the team with the best home record in the NBA. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves all scored at least 20 points as the Lakers pulled away late for a 16-point victory.

To the surprise of some, it was not LeBron or Davis putting things away down the stretch, but rather the undrafted Reaves, who scored nine straight points down the stretch to ice the game away. The Lakers continually had Reaves operate in the pick-and-roll to great success and LeBron was just fine trusting the second-year guard, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“Absolutely, we found something that was going. That’s the old saying, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. AR was able to see a couple shots go in and we ran that pick-and-roll, the double pick-and-roll where DLo set the first one, AD clean up. The first one he was able to reject, get a pull-up two. Second one he came off they had a switch, but they soft switch and he hit a 3. Came back down and he was able to hit another pull-up. Another one they shrunk the floor on one of them on me, he came off, read it properly, kicked it to me I was able to hit a 3. When you know that you’re playing with cerebral guys and guys that got high basketball IQ, then you trust that they’ll make the right play for the team.”

Reaves made all the right plays down the stretch, going a perfect 5-of-5 in the fourth quarter for 14 of his 23 points along with a pair of assists as he orchestrated everything in his first career playoff game. The other unlikely star, Hachimura, poured in 29 points off the bench in just the second playoff appearance of his career.

This Lakers team is reliant on some players with little or no playoff experience so LeBron is happy for them to get more comfortable in the postseason. But regardless of how good they looked, he knows the Lakers as a whole can’t relax and must be much better in Game 2:

“It’s good to get a game under their belt, to know what the postseason is all about. And even if you’ve played one series or whatever, just to get back into the flow of things and I think that’s very key for our young guys. This is AR’s first playoff game so it’s good to get that under his belt. And a lot of our guys that’s not as experienced in the postseason it’s good to get another postseason game under their belt so they know what to expect. But we need to be a lot better in Game 2. They’re gonna go back and they’re gonna counter. We had 15 turnovers for 15 points, we can’t do that. We got to be a lot better and that starts with me, obviously. And we got to do a little bit better job on the glass as well, even though for the majority we controlled it, but we got to do even better because that’s where they’re very good at. So we’re gonna look at some things that we can do better and hopefully be even more in tune on Wednesday.”

The status of Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant for Game 2 is unclear, but whether he is on the court or not Memphis is going to come out with a different level of intensity and desperation in order to not go down 2-0 in the series. The Lakers have to be ready to weather what will be a huge barrage from a still dangerous Grizzlies team.

Lakers’ Austin Reaves dreamed of being on a playoff stage like this

Of course, the moment that will live on from this game is Reaves, after scoring his ninth straight point for the Lakers, yelling “I’m Him” as he ran back down the court. Reaves looked nothing like a player in his first career playoff game and being on this court is something he dreamed of growing up.

After the contest, Reaves noted that everyone dreams of being on a playoff stage like this and the emotions run wild, but he was simply having fun in the moment.

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