When it comes to the playoffs, teams need their role players to step as opponents will do everything in their power to make life as difficult as possible for stars.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the Los Angeles Lakers have a 2-1 lead over the Memphis Grizzlies because they’ve gotten meaningful contributions from multiple players. One player who’s having a breakout is Rui Hachimura, who has been a revelation for the Lakers so far this postseason. After scoring more than 20 points in the first two games, Hachimura contiued his stellar play with a 16-point performance in Los Angeles’ Game 3 victory over Memphis.
There must be some regret from Desmond Bane, who was skeptical of Hachimura’s sizzling Game 1 as the forward has been a consistent source of offense for the Lakers. Hachimura helped L.A. build a gargantuan 26-point lead in the first quarter of Game 3 and he later said that he and the team wanted Memphis to know who exactly they were dealing with, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I feel like tonight we were ready to play. We had a tough loss last time at their home and then we had a good practice yesterday and we are so locked in. From the jump, we wanted to let them know who we are and I think we did that statement so it was pretty good.”
Hachimura also acknowledged the physicality of the series and went so far as to accuse the Grizzlies of some underhanded plays:
“I think, yeah, we’ve been good. Of course, we knew they were going to be so physical but they do some dirty plays sometimes so, you know, just got to be careful with that.”
The Japan native got into a small altercation in Game 3 as he was upset after being shoved by David Roddy after a foul had been called, earning him a technical foul in the process. However, Hachimura was able to clear his head and continue playing solid overall basketball to close out the Grizzlies.
While the Lakers certainly got their point across to the Grizzlies, Game 4 will be an entirely different animal. Los Angeles must be ready for a punch back from Memphis, but if they come out like they did in Game 3 then fans should feel confident in their chances.
D’Angelo Russell believes Rui Hachimura could dominate Grizzlies series
Hachimura has been revitalized since coming to Los Angeles and is looking more and more like a long-term piece. He’s earned the confidence from his teammates, particularly D’Angelo Russell, who believes he can dominate the series against the Grizzlies because of the way they are choosing to guard him.
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