The Los Angeles Lakers, in a great position to take advantage of a Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies team, fell flat on their faces in Game 2 of their first round series on Wednesday night.
While there was one positive to take away from the 103-93 loss- the play of LeBron James- the defeat mostly left a bad taste in the mouths of Lakers fans, who were looking to this game as a chance to wrest control from Memphis after Morant missed the contest with a wrist injury.
And they now need someone to blame for the ugly loss.
Well, we are here to provide that for the LA faithful!
Here are three Lakers most to blame for the loss to the Ja Morant-less Grizzlies.
Lakers To Blame For Loss To Grizzlies
3. HC Darvin Ham
It’s hard to place the full blame on Darvin Ham when several Lakers played so poorly (more on that in a moment.) But Ham deserves at least some of the blame for not shuffling things around a bit with his Game 2 rotations.
For example, instead of playing starting point guard– yes, I called him a point guard- D’Angelo Russell, who is mired in shooting slump, for 30 minutes, Ham could have turned to his bench for a spark.
Perhaps Malik Beasley, who scored seven points in just 13 minutes, could have provided more of a jolt for the Lakers’ offense than what Russell provided.
Ham also deserves at least partial blame for not countering the Grizzlies’ physical approach to defending star Anthony Davis.
Ham can’t be blamed any more than that outside of those factors, as it’s ultimately up to the Lakers’ players to execute when the lights are brightest.
2. F/C Anthony Davis
Before we pile on Anthony Davis here, let’s be clear. On an off-shooting night, Davis helped make up for his lesser output on the offensive end with a stellar performance on defense.
After blocking seven shots and swiping three steals in Game 1 against the Grizzlies, Davis rejected five more shot attempts.
But even that effort wasn’t enough for Davis to escape blame.
The Lakers big man shot just 4 of 14 from the field and attempted just four free throws.
On a night where LA got a strong effort from LeBron James- 28 points, 12 rebounds, one turnover- his sidekick Davis was nowhere to be found.
Fortunately for Lakers fans, Davis has been a stellar performer in the postseason in his career.
Fans should expect a big-time bounce back from The Brow in Game 3.
1. G D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell was abysmal on Wednesday night. In what has unfortunately been a common occurrence in the Lakers’ last few games, Russell could not get any shots to fall.
After a 1-for-9 shooting performance against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, in LA’s Play-In Tournament win, Russell bounced back in the Game 1 win over the Grizzlies, scoring a serviceable 19 points on 7-for-17 shooting.
But Russell couldn’t keep the momentum going in Game 2, shooting a putrid 2 of 12 from the field, including 1-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately for Lakers fans, this is nothing new for Russell in the playoffs.
The 27-year-old has shot under 50 percent from the field in each of his first 13 career playoff games, which is the longest streak for a player’s start of a postseason career since DeMar DeRozan from 2014 to 2016, per SportsCenter.
To make matters worse, Russell took exception to a Lakers reporter calling him a point guard, as he got a little testy with the media during his postgame availability.
Not only did Russell not show up for Game 2 on the court, but he didn’t help himself much off the court after his less-than-stellar performance.
Worse, still, for the Lakers is that this is becoming an unfortunate playoff pattern for Russell.
Simply, put he needs to be better for LA to win this series.
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