Rui Hachimura Believes Lakers Must Match The Grizzlies’ Energy & Focus On Defense
Rui Hachimura Luke Kennard Lakers Grizzlies
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

There weren’t a lot of positives to point to in the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 2 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night, but one of them was undoubtedly the performance of forward Rui Hachimura.

After putting forth arguably the best game of his career in Game 1, Hachimura answered the challenge of Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane by following it up with 20 points and five rebounds on 7-of-12 shooting while knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. Unfortunately, the Lakers got little else going offensively and ultimately fell by 10 in Game 2 and will now head back to L.A. with the series tied at one.

The Lakers came out flat early on and were just never able to fully recover as the game went on and Hachimura believes they have to match Memphis’ energy and physicality, especially when they go small with himself and LeBron James as the bigs, via NBA Interviews:

“They are a very physical team so we just got to match their energy. And we just got to box out when they shoot the ball, they’re gonna crash every time. And on defense me and Bron when we play the 4 and 5, we got to be on help side ready to block shots and get the rebounds.”

Despite the slow start and overall bad offensive night from everyone aside from Hachimura and LeBron, the Lakers were still able to go on a run in the second half and closed the deficit to just six points with three minutes remaining. Hachimura pointed to the defense as the reason for the Lakers’ success and believes that should be the team’s focus:

“I think we were just moving the ball and we were getting stops, it’s simple. When we get stops in a row that’s how our offense gets moving. We just got to focus on the defensive side. The offense, everybody can score.

Playing great defense will keep a team in the game most nights and that was the case for the Lakers in Game 2. They still had a chance late and if a couple more shots fall, the outcome could have been different.

The Lakers will now need to make the right adjustments to turn things around in Game 3. And if Hachimura can keep up his level of play, they have a great chance to swing momentum right back into their favor.

LeBron James believes Lakers were prepared for Game 2 but didn’t execute

When the road team wins Game 1, there is almost always an expectation that the team will come out flat because they have already accomplished the main goal of taking a game on the road. The Lakers fell into that same trap, but James doesn’t believe it was due to a lack of preparation.

LeBron spoke after the game and believes the team was properly prepared but simply didn’t execute in Game 2 against the Grizzlies. James added that the Lakers should look to play with more pace so that they aren’t up against the shot clock as much in Game 3.

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