LeBron’s 30-point outing was his fourth in the last five games — he’s played just nine games since returning from a right foot injury. James’ ability to return so quickly and play at a high level has been a huge boost for the Lakers.
L.A. will need more of LeBron’s production in the second round against the Grizzlies, a team that won’t be phased by him. Even though the game with Minnesota just ended, James was far ahead in his preparation for Memphis, ringing off his thoughts on the matchup.
“A really good team. Very well coached. Very well-balanced,” James said of the Grizzlies. “Obviously, the head of the snake in Ja Morant. Another All-Star in Jaren Jackson, who was up on Defensive Player of the Year. His ability to block shots, but offensively he’s very dynamic as well. Tyus Jones off the bench has led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio like the last six years, so he complements them very well. Desmond Bane, I think in his third year, second or third year, but he plays like a veteran. His ability to shoot the ball from the three-point line. Also, his ability to attack in early transition. Dillon Brooks, an opportunity to go out there, you can’t disrespect him because he makes shots and Xavier Tillman has been playing good basketball. Obviously, he’s been well coached from his college days with Coach [Tom] Izzo to know and so on.
“They’ve got Luke Kennard who broke my scoring record in high school. He passed me in high school, and the reason why is he’s a laser from the three-point line. His ability to shoot the ball is uncanny. And they’ve got so many other guys off the bench you just can’t disrespect because they will make you pay.
“Obviously, I haven’t thought about Memphis one minute,” James joked.
LeBron is known for his preparation and meticulous approach, so it’s no surprise that he’s aware of the Grizzlies’ strengths. However, James has played just one game against Memphis this season, dropping 23 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in a tight win.
The Lakers faced the Grizzlies twice in a week span across February and March. Both of those games resulted in different outcomes — Ja Morant took over in the first meeting, but was absent in the second because of a suspension. His presence means a completely different Grizzlies team.
Luckily for L.A., they’ll have four days to prepare for Memphis.
Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks wants first-round matchup with Lakers and LeBron
There are few NBA players that embrace being a villain as much as Dillon Brooks. The six-year pro never shies away from a matchup, especially if it means guarding LeBron James.
Brooks recently expressed his desire to face LeBron and the Lakers in the first round, a wish that has now come true.
“I don’t really dislike anybody, I just bring a competitive edge. But I wouldn’t mind playing LeBron [James] in a 7-game series. The legacy is there. First time back in the playoffs, knock him out right away. It’ll test us good. They got good pieces, good players. That’ll be a good first-round matchup for us.”
Source: Lakers Nation