The basketball came into the hands of Rui Hachimura on a punt pass from Anthony Davis, a key moment early in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies, a moment for one of the newest Lakers to deliver.
Hachimura took a quick dribble and stopped for a jumper, making the shot to give the Lakers a one-point lead.
He was doing his part in this game, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds during the Lakers’ 112-103 win over Memphis on Tuesday night.
“Yeah, I was trying to be aggressive on defense, offense and rebounding,” Hachimura said. “I think I had a bigger job on that, and I was able to help the team win.”
Hachimura did just that with his offense, shooting 7-for-11 from the field.
He did it with his defense and rebounding, once again taking a step forward in the absence of LeBron James.
“I think when he can play aggressive and get to the rim, get to the free throw line, the physicality,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said of Hachimura. “Everyone encourages him to just let it all flow and he’s trying to do that. Different physical confrontations, he feels those blows. He feels that sometimes they blow his whistle unfairly, and that tends to wake him up and he tends to play a lot more physical. So we thought he was excellent off the bench.”
Hachimura played 27 minutes, 35 seconds, 8:08 in the fourth quarter, showing how much faith Ham had in Hachimura when the game was still in doubt.
“The role and everything, the minutes and everything changes, so it’s hard for me to adjust,” Hachimura said. “But it’s the same for everyone. I just have to get used to it. I have to always be ready and have an impact on the game.”
Here are three more takeaways from the Lakers’ victory on Tuesday:
Brown has highlighted matte
The Lakers dominate the boards
The play-in tournament is not the goal
As of the end of Tuesday night, the Lakers had moved to ninth place in the Western Conference standings.
That meant they had moved into position for the NBA entry tournament.
The Lakers are just two games behind the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, who rank fifth and sixth.
The top six teams from each conference earn an automatic playoff berth.
With 16 games remaining in the regular season, the Lakers have their sights set on securing one of those playoff spots.
They’ll have to climb over four teams to get there, but that’s still their goal.
“Okay, but we are not satisfied. We don’t want to stop there,” Davis said of an entry stand. “We want to be greedy, get as many wins as possible and try to keep moving up the ladder. We still have to take care of business and do what we’re supposed to do. But it feels good to move up another place and continue to pursue our goal, which is not only to be in the play-in, but also to secure a place in the top six.”