The Los Angeles Lakers will head to Memphis with a two-game lead after beating the Grizzlies 141-113 in Game 2 of the NBA Playoff at Staples Center on Monday. The 141 points they scored against the Grizzlies was just a point shy of their season-high, which came against the Minnesota Timberwolves in December.
Unlike Saturday’s game, Monday’s game wasn’t much of a contest for the Lakers. In the first quarter, they outscored the Grizzlies 42-28, which included a 10-0 run for Los Angeles to start the game. LeBron James scored 16 of his game-high 39 points in the first quarter. James also contributed 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals.
Anthony Davis would have been the Lakers’ leading scorer, but he missed his final two free-throws of the night, so he ended the game with 38 points. However, while he didn’t get the bragging rights that come with having the most points on the team, he did shoot a higher percentage from the field (68.4%) than James (54.5%). Both of them were incredibly efficient, but Davis was a little more so.
The most efficient player in Game 2, though, was Dwight Howard. Howard has been almost automatic from under the rim this season, and Monday night was no different. in 28 minutes, Howard scored 18 points on 8-11 shooting from the field. For the series, Howard is averaging 20 points per game on 69.5% from the field.
The decision to move JaVale McGee to the bench in favor of Dwight Howard wasn’t a popular one at first, but Howard’s shown that he can still contribute at a high level when he’s given the minutes. On a team full of “X-Factors,” Howard could be the biggest one.
As a team, the Lakers shot 59% from the field, including 38% from behind the arc. If their offense is going to run as smoothly as it did on Monday night for the rest of the postseason, it’s going to take an elite defensive team to beat them. The Grizzlies finished in the middle of the pack in terms of defensive rating this season — you do the math.
The Lakers will have two days before Game 3 at the FedEx Forum. For a few players, it will be their first playoff game on the road, but they can rest easy knowing that Lakers fans travel on the road the same way they do in the regular season. It may not feel like a home game, but there will be purple and gold jerseys in the building.