Lakers No Longer Leaps Away From Deep Playoff Run


With a strong win in game three in Los Angeles, the Lakers bounced back from their signature ‘off-game’ in game two and are now up 2-1 on the Memphis Grizzlies in the series. A Game 4 victory retains home-court advantage for the Lakers heading back to Memphis for Game 5.

Game 3 was a clear indication of how good this Lakers team can be. Through three games, there are three glaring factors that could be the difference between advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals or going home.

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Normally when you talk about the key player that is vital to winning a series, you’d think LeBron James right away. However, that isn’t quite the case anymore.

Whether you like it or not, LeBron cannot reach that 2018 playoff level that he used to be capable of. And all throughout their tenure in LA, the success of this team has been predicated on how good Anthony Davis can be.

AD was coming off an unacceptable 13-point performance by his standards in Game 2. So how did he respond? By going out and dominating the Grizzlies from start to finish in front of the home crowd.

The Lakers are now 17-4 (.810 win %) in the playoffs when AD drops at least 20 points. We don’t need him to go crazy like he did on Saturday night, but he must at least be present.

Forget about how good LeBron can play on a given night or breakout performances from role players. This Lakers team is only as good as Anthony Davis is. The energy he started last game with was a catalyst for how the remainder of the game went for LAL.


One of the bigger stories that came out of game two was Dillon Brooks losing complete consciousness and being the absolute troll that he is. Regardless of all of that noise, LeBron doesn’t care for Brooks’ antics. He was strictly business going into Game 3.

LeBron and LA’s tremendous start not only startled Brooks, but the Grizzlies as well, and set the tone for the remainder of the game, essentially shutting down Brooks’ entire façade before he was legitimately shut down via an ejection to start the second half.

One thing that was both pleasurable and noteworthy to watch in the first quarter of the game was how Brooks essentially shot Memphis out of that game early.

He collapsed.

And to be quite frank, the Grizzlies looked like a much more cohesive team without him on the floor.

So, by all means, Mr. Brooks, keep ‘poking the bear’ because this bear is a king – and he’s seen plenty like you.

3. Rui HIMchimura

The BRIGHTEST spot out of this early playoff run for the Lakers has undoubtedly been Rui Hachimura. Through all of the ups and downs on the roster in the first two games, Rui has been consistently great!

It is essential that the Lakers optimize Rui in his historical run this round. The Grizzlies are the perfect matchup for him and he has proved it.

Just watching Rui’s minutes, you’ll see how much he competes on both sides of the ball. Athletic and sound defense combined with his tremendous scoring ability on offense has been critical for LA this series. It’s hard so see someone on Memphis that can matchup individually with Rui without swaying focus off of LeBron, AD, D-Lo or even Austin Reaves for that matters, which is why Rui’s upsurge in play makes this Laker offense so dangerous.

Rui through three games: 21.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 66.7 FG%, 75.0 3PT%, 79.2 EFG%

Since being the first off the bench for LAL, Rui has been a star in his role. His continued success is the foundation to a deep playoff run for the Lakers.


For the better part of Game 3, we saw how good this Laker team can actually be. The lolls we saw later in the game were a direct result of being up by so much for the entirety of the game and Ja going nuclear in the fourth. Otherwise, when they are dialed in on both ends as seen in game three, there is a subtly great team being uncovered in Los Angeles.

Between AD’s play, LeBron’s matchup and Rui being the second coming of Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers aren’t leaps and bounds away from a deep playoff run, much less a round-one win.

Script Los Angeles Lakers

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