MEMPHIS,TN—Even without all-star Memphis point guard Ja Morant, who was absent with a bruised right hand, the Lakers waisted a golden opportunity to seize control of their first round playoff series. The Memphis Grizzlies won Game 2 over the Los Angeles Lakers 103-93, on Wednesday, April 19 at FedExForum.
The series is now tied at 1-1, with the Lakers coming home to Crypto.com Arena for games 3 and 4 after getting a split in Memphis. The Lakers were clearly outplayed from the opening possession.
Building a 20-point advantage over the Purple and Gold due to Dillon Brooks and Xavier Tillman displaying their skills. Tillman was the best player on the court, surprising himself with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds.
“No way, did I expect to be interviewed on live TV,” said Tillman post-game. “I just do whatever it takes to make my teammates better,” proclaimed the third-year player out of Michigan State University.
The Lakers four game winning streak was snapped during a sloppy performance. Committing 10 turnovers in the first quarter, which led to a 22-8 Memphis run.
LeBron James played well leading the team with 28 points, and Rui Hachimura remained hot with 20 points. The same could not be said for Anthony Davis. Davis had a forgettable outing, scoring only 13 points on 4 of 14 from the field.
Davis has always bounced back after disappointing games, and he should be better in Los Angeles. Memphis was up 59-44 at halftime.
The Memphis Grizzlies Jaren Jackson Jr. was presented with the trophy for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year pre-game at center court.
By far, the most intriguing subplot of this playoff series is the rivalry between Dillon Brooks and LeBron James. In the 3rd quarter, after much trash talking, Brooks shoved James. He proceeded to swish a three pointer and stared him down.
“I don’t care. He’s old… I poke bears. I don’t respect no one ’til they come and give me forty,” said Brooks on his exchange with LeBron.
This is a risky and bold move on Brooks part; James has consistently silenced players for 20 years.
Game 3 is at Crypto.com Arena on Saturday, April 22 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.