Let the NBA tremble: the Lakers are already here

Jack Nicholson had to see something from his home television to return to the Crypto Arena. The legendary actor, a die-hard Lakers fan for decades, He had not seen a live game of his team since the initial duel of the 2021-22 season. And, at the age of 86 (she turned 7 days ago), she has decided that it was time to return to the foot of the track, to his usual seat, next to his son, always his faithful companion. It was a sign of what was to come: the Lakers overwhelmed the Grizzlies, destroyed them with a monumental display and won 40 (125-85). They go to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2020, the bubble ring. And for the second since 2012, a rare fact within the largest market in the NBA, the franchise of the 17 rings, historical top tied with the Celtics. They are here: they have returned. After a season full of nonsense, they have beaten a simply worse rival. With solvency. And without exploiting LeBron James or Anthony Davis, who didn’t play anything in the last quarter. It was not necessary.

It seems incredible: the Lakers were in 13th place in the NBA at the All Star break. After it, an 18-9 record, the best in the Western Conference, to reach seventh place. An extraordinary comeback that culminated in a less than brilliant victory in the play in against the Timberwolvesalready removed. Everything improved after the transfer of Russell Westbrook, also removed. And they have played against the second best in the West… who they have eliminated. A wonderful revolution supported by a spectacular defense and a good attack, coral, that does not require miracles from LeBron and Davis and that allows the team to have many arguments. Resources. Solutions. The Lakers have won 4-2 and his rival in the semifinals will leave the Kings-Warriors on Sunday (9:30 p.m., Spanish time). They have, whatever happens, a rest that their rivals are not going to have. And time to calm down, think, prepare the series and try, of course they are going to do it, to be victorious.

The initial rush of the Grizzlies (they started 2-6 and 5-9) was a mere mirage. They were playing without Luke Kennard, one of their best sharpshooters, due to injury. And his rotation shortened. At the end of the first quarter, the Lakers led 31-20. At halftime, the difference increased to 59-42. The visitors wanted to press and started the third period with a triple by Ja Morant, but there was no way. Three triples in a row, two from a stupendous D’Angelo Russell (31 points on 12 of 17 shooting) and one from Jarred Vanderbilt (9 points at the end, an absolute discovery) made it 68-45. It was the sentence: in the third period he did nothing more than increase the advantage and the partial was devastating, 41-25. The meeting was over. The Lakers, at times, played historically good defense. And Davis was superlative: 16 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks, 26 in the entire first round, more than anyone since 2014 and the leader in the current playoffs.. The Grizzlies, the team that has scored the most points in the area during the normal season (58.4) they had 20 in the first three quarters. They received 15 caps. They only put 2.

The season is over for Taylor Jenkins’ men, one that represents a slowdown for the project. Last year they reached the Conference semifinals (they lost 4-2 to the Warriors) and at present they have not been able to sustain the positive inertia or the upward dynamics. The scandal of Ja Morant when he appeared with a gun in a club unraveled the group chemistry and the constant outbursts of Dillon Brooks (11 of 42 in triples in the entire series) have ended up turning the Grizzlies into the public enemy number 1 of public opinion, that place where the battles that decide wars are won and lost. Morant finished the sixth and final game with 10 points and 3 of 16 shooting. Desmond Bane stayed at 15, with 5 of 16. Santi Aldama, in a great season in which he has established himself in the NBA, was one of his best with 16 goals (6 of 10 on the shot) and 5 rebounds. All bad for the Memphis entity, which goes to the corner of thinking… with many things to think about, clear.

And the Lakers? Whatever happens, his season is already fantastic. LeBron, who arrived at the stadium 5 hours earlier to train, has not had to force himself and is past his 40th round of playoffs, already a historic leader along with Derek Fisher, who was also watching the game. He has averaged 22 points in the series, the same as he has today (9 of 13 shooting, fantastic), along with 5 rebounds and 6 assists. He still hasn’t put that march more that we know you have and that it will arrive when your team needs it most. Austin Reaves added an 11+6+8, Dennis Schröder was calm in making decisions (only 2 goals, but 5 assists), Wenyen Gabriel always contributes when he comes out (6 points in 10 minutes) and Lonie Walker IV and Malik Beasley added 8 and 9 scoring units respectively in that last quarter that served to reserve the best and think about the next tie. Rui Hachimura, in another great defensive effort, made it 6+4. And the Lakers dished out 33 assists, a marvelous outrage.

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That’s how things are. With Jack Nicholson as a luxury guest (Kyrie Irving was also watching the game live, that’s it), the Lakers exhibited themselves at the Crypto Arena and go to the semifinals. There they will face the Kings, one of the most attractive teams of the season. Or with the Warriors, the biggest rivalry of LeBron’s career. It doesn’t matter: the season is fantastic, Darvin Ham consolidates as head coach and goes through the rounds in his rookie year, and the squad is united, he has chemistry, muscle, grit, a beautiful game and a lot of heart. LeBron, by the way, left when there were still seconds left without saying hello. He is not into Brooks’ nonsense nor does he feel like wasting time, it seems, at 38 years old. That’s how he is. His existence is in major battles, in wars against time and history. The Grizzlies go home 40 points apart, the worst loss in their playoff history and the worst of any team in the current finals.. And the Lakers play well, win and advance. Are they candidates? Can you pass another round? We will see. for now, they are still in the fight. LeBron and Davis are healthy, something impeccable for what is to come. And the Lakers have shown that they can compete with anyone. That’s for sure.

Statistics

3

Anthony Davis
6

Lebron James
9

tristan thompson
17

Dennis Schröder
1

D’Angelo Russell
5

Malik Beasley
0

Shaquille Harrison
12

Mo Bamba
7

Troy Brown Jr.
4

Lonnie Walker IV
2

jarred vanderbilt
35

wenyen gabriel
28

Rui Hachimura
fifteen

austin reaves
10

max christie

Statistics

MinptsRTRODRAstPerrecTapT1T2T3FRCFVal
3

Anthony Davis
28161411311054/46/90/0020
6

Lebron James
31225146310237/82/5020
9

tristan thompson
0000000000/00/00/0000
17

Dennis Schröder
23240450200/01/30/1030
1

D’Angelo Russell
303121143112/47/85/9000
5

Malik Beasley
9921120004/41/21/4010
0

Shaquille Harrison
0000000000/00/00/0000
12

Mo Bamba
9030310010/00/10/1000
7

Troy Brown Jr.
9030320000/00/00/1000
4

Lonnie Walker IV
9810110000/01/12/5000
2

jarred vanderbilt
fifteen932133120/00/03/8010
35

wenyen gabriel
10622001020/03/50/0040
28

Rui Hachimura
twenty-one640400110/03/30/2010
fifteen

austin reaves
33eleven61582020/04/51/7020
10

max christie
9530300010/01/21/1000

Statistics

twenty-one

Tyus Jones
24

Dillon Brooks
13

Jaren Jackson Jr.
12

Ja Morant
46

john konchar
22

Desmond Bane
2

Xavier Tillmann Mr.
8

ziaire williams
7

Santi Aldama
27

David Roddy
5

Vince Williams Jr.
6

Kenneth Lofton Jr.
0

Jacob Gilyard

Statistics

MinptsRTRODRAstPerrecTapT1T2T3FRCFVal
twenty-one

Tyus Jones
18340432400/00/31/2000
24

Dillon Brooks
261041321000/02/62/5010
13

Jaren Jackson Jr.
311443113107/82/61/6050
12

Ja Morant
331050562302/41/92/7020
46

john konchar
14211011000/01/20/1010
22

Desmond Bane
37fifteen52322103/43/102/6020
2

Xavier Tillmann Mr.
17263312110/01/40/0050
8

ziaire williams
9520210000/01/41/3010
7

Santi Aldama
291652301002/24/723000
27

David Roddy
eleven361510010/00/31/3000
5

Vince Williams Jr.
0000000000/00/00/0000
6

Kenneth Lofton Jr.
9531210001/22/40/2000
0

Jacob Gilyard
0000000000/00/00/0000

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