The LeBron James-led LA Lakers announced their return to the NBA playoffs with a 40-point win against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6. The Lakers dominated the second-seeded Grizzlies and won 125-85, setting a high standard for themselves defensively. Assistant coach Darvin Ham commented on their impressive performance, saying, “We set a standard for ourselves defensively … this thing is just getting started. We passed level one. Now we gotta start shifting our focus to whoever comes outta that game on Sunday.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 29, 2023
The Lakers’ win paved the way for them to face the winner of the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings’ series. Although the Lakers are the seventh seed, their recent performance proved that they could hold their own against any team.
Anthony Davis played an instrumental role in the Lakers’ Game 6 win, contributing 16 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks. Davis proved that he was a better defensive player than Jaren Jackson Jr., who was recently named the Defensive Player of the Year. Davis’s presence shut down the paint, which was critical in limiting Memphis’s interior points.
Jarred Vanderbilt and LeBron James also contributed significantly to the Lakers’ victory with their versatility and switchability. James recorded 22 points, five rebounds, and six assists while shooting 9-for-13 from the field.
Darvin complimented Lebron in post-game interview by stating: “He’s the best I’ve seen or been around in terms of what he has to do to recover his prepatory process.” “It’s unreal man it’s unreal”
“You know Kobe was nothing short of amazing and I have even been around Giannis, you know i have been around elite top 5 NBA talent but, LeBron man, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The Lakers’ transition defense was key to their success against the Grizzlies. The team ranked 24th in the NBA in fastbreak points allowed in the regular season, while Memphis ranked second in transition points scored. The Lakers had to contain Memphis’s transition points to overcome their offense, which was led by Ja Morant.
In Game 6, the Lakers outscored the Grizzlies in fastbreak points 24-14, leading them to victory. Despite the Grizzlies’ 15.5 transition points average in the six-game series, which was lower than their regular season average, the Lakers’ ability to limit their opponent’s transition points contributed to their defensive success.
The Lakers will face their next challenge against either the Warriors or the Kings, and despite being the underdogs, they are confident in their ability to perform at a high level. As Darvin Ham stated, “We set a standard for ourselves defensively … this thing is just getting started.” If the Lakers can sustain their defensive dominance, they have a good chance of succeeding in any playoff series.
The King’s Unmatched Work Ethic: Inside LeBron James’ Preparation for Playoff Success
LeBron James is a playoff veteran and one of the most sought-after players in the league during the postseason. He has an impressive list of accolades, including four championships, three MVP awards, and 19 All-Star nominations. Perhaps the most impressive is his eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances, a feat no other modern-era player has achieved.
James is currently leading the Los Angeles Lakers towards another potential Finals run, and he’s been quietly averaging 22 points per game during the first round. His point total jumps to 28 per game in closeout games, with a 39-12 record. Darvin Ham recently shared some insight into how James operates behind the scenes during the playoffs, which includes constant communication, discussing film, strategy, rotations, matchups, and maintaining a positive and energetic attitude. With the Lakers in a good position, have advanced to the conference semi- finals after beating the Memphis Grizzlies and are now set to face the Kings or Warriors.