LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) — The Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 3 of their playoff series Saturday night, coming away with a 111–101 win. The Lakers now lead the series 2–1. Crypto.com Arena was roaring as the Lakers fought hard for the first round playoff win at home.
The Lakers got off to an aggressive start in the first quarter creating, jumping out to a 20-point lead early in the first quarter. The game was essentially over then.
Fourth quarter starts now pic.twitter.com/GDAjOg3AnD
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 23, 2023
The Grizzlies didn’t know what hit them as they were only able to generate nine points in the first period. Yes, nine. When the quarter ended, the Lakers had already built up a 35–9 advantage. By jumping on the Grizzlies the way that they did, the Lakers posted the largest lead after the first quarter in NBA postseason history.
The Lakers slammed the Grizzlies into the ground during the beginning of the game, running circles around the Western Conference’s №2-seeded team and making them look inexperienced and helpless.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham talked about team’s great defensive play in the first quarter during a postgame press conference.
“That was something we touched yesterday in practice,” Ham said. “ Just establishing a defensive minded physical tone and just dig in and multiple efforts, activity, being ready, transition defense is key…and then trying to finish a possession with a rebound.”
For the Lakers, Anthony Davis re-introduced himself to the Grizzlies with a huge effort. Davis showed up and showed out, clocking in with a team-high 31 points. He was dominant on the boards as well, picking up 17 rebounds.
LeBron James contributed 25 points and collected 9 rebounds to aid the big game that Davis had. Not too bad of an outing for an “old” man.
“It’s important for us to play well,” James said after the game. “We want to play better than we did in game two, but I think we did that. But we still have room for improvement going into game four and we know they’re going to be better as well.”
With Davis and James having solid all-around games, the Lakers’ top players got some help. D’Angelo Russell clocked in with 17 points, four rebounds and seven assists. Rui Hachimura chipped in 16 points for the purple and gold. In the start of the second quarter, Hachimura had more points (10) than Memphis had on the scoreboard.
The Lakers were on fire. High energy and great defense keyed the Lakers getting out fast. The Lakers maintained their large lead when halftime rolled around, going into intermission with a 53–37 lead.
Memphis seemed to be overwhelmed by the Lakers’ fast start, putting a dent in the Grizzlies’ Alpha attitude they came out of the gate with. Combined their terrible first quarter along the super loud atmosphere in Crypto, it was clear that it was going to be a long night for Ja Morant and his teammates.
The Lakers and their fans got a slight scare when James went down in the beginning of the second half after Memphis guard/forward Dillon Brooks hit the Lakers superstar in the groin. That play was called as a flagrant foul (2) against Brooks, who wound up getting tossed out of the game for the low blow.
The drama filled game continued with more aggression and altercations. Hachimura later got into a skirmish with Memphis players David Roddy and John Konchar. Konchar pushed Hachimura as he was running down the court for a play.
At the end of the game, Davis addressed the bad blood that appears to spill over from both teams.
“We just want to take care of the home floor,” Davis said. “You know, we’re not getting into the back and forth, we let our game speak for ourselves…the trash talk is going to be there with the guys that they have. It’s playoff basketball, we wouldn’t expect anything less from them.”