Lakers get a Game 2 reality check

(News4usonline) – It’s back to reality for the Los Angeles Lakers. After a highly-energized effort in Game 1 of their first round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers shocked and embarrassed the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed. 

Austin Reaves went off for 23 points. Rui Hachimura went ballistic with 29 points off the bench to lead the Lakers to a 128-112 road win. 

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline

Well, with Game 3 at Arena, the Lakers had an excellent opportunity to steal Game 2 from the Grizzlies. Yeah, well that went out the window with the Grizzlies rallying to a 103-93 win to tie the series at 1-1. 

The reality for the Lakers hit hard with Reaves managing just 12 points in the second game, which you knew would be coming since Memphis has been one of the top defensive teams in the NBA during the regular season. To hammer this point home, the Grizzlies were second-best in the league in allowing points to their opponents during the regular season. 

So, the 128 pints the Lakers put up against the Grizzlies in Game 1 will serve as more of an outlier for the rest of the series. Even if the Lakers have three opportunities to play on their home court for three games, should that possibility exist, this series is pretty much going to mirror what the score looked like in Game 2-in the 90s or low 100 range. 

And you pretty much know what the playbook Memphis is going to rely on. The Grizzlies know that LeBron James and Anthony Davis are going to get their points. They are going to stuff everyone else in the closet and see if the Lakers’ dynamic duo can beat a whole team by themselves. 

That’s not logical considering the frail health of Davis, who has been prone to the injury bug. The biggest culprit for the Lakers and their fans to worry about is when Davis is not doing his part. In Game 1, Davis had a marvelous showing, scoring 22 points, grabbing a dozen rebounds, and blocking seven shots. 

He made 10 of the 17 shots he took from the field. Very impressive. Then in Game 2, Davis disappeared. As a team, the Lakers shot 41 percent from the field. That shooting percentage was worst when it came to shooting the three-ball. 

The Lakers converted only 7 of 26 shots from behind the arc, something good enough for 26 percent. You’re not going to win too many playoff games shooting at that rate. If Davis had given the Lakers the kind of effort he produced in Game 1, Los Angeles might have been able to steal Game 2. 

That didn’t happen because Davis was lackluster, making just 4 of 14 shots from the field for a grand total of 13 points. For the game, Davis shot at a 28 percent clip. That’s just not acceptable. This is not the time for Davis to flame out. If he keeps this kind of effort going, then Memphis is going to make quick work of the Lakers and hand Los Angeles an extended vacation.         

After the game, Memphis forward Dillon Brooks mocked James, who scored 28 points in Game 2, by calling the NBA’s all-time leading scorer “old.” We’ll see if this “old” bear comes out of hibernation or not to lead the Lakers to the next playoff round.