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D’Angelo Russell thinks Rui Hachimura can ‘dominate’ series after a strong Game 2

For the second straight game, Rui Hachimura put together a strong performance against Memphis and continues to have the support of his teammates, including D’Angelo Russell.

NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Rui Hachimura backed up his historic performance in Game 1 for the Lakers against the Grizzlies with a strong Game 2 outing despite it coming in a loss. While he didn’t quite match his 29-point outburst and a career-high five 3-pointers, Hachimura did tally 20 points with a pair of long-range efforts, joining LeBron James as the only Lakers on the night to have at least 20 points.

In doing so, he did once again make history for the Lakers, becoming the first player since another franchise icon to have back-to-back 20-point games off the bench.

After the game, D’Angelo Russell was asked about Hachimura’s continued strong showing in Game 2 and had high praise for his teammate.

“Huge. He’s playing well,” Russell said. “He’s doing everything that we ask. They’re allowing him to shoot the ball. He’s more than capable. I think he can dominate the series, honestly.”

Harkening back to Desmond Bane’s comments on Rui makes his outing on Wednesday all the funnier. The Grizzlies guard more or less wrote off Sunday as a career night for Rui and challenged him to do it again.

While it didn’t come in quite the same way with a barrage of 3-pointers, Rui did ultimately do it again. And with these back-to-back outings, Rui is starting to really build a growing reputation as a playoff performer.

In five postseason games with the Wizards and now two games with the Lakers, Rui is shooting 47-73 from the field, a staggering 64.3%. And they’re not all simply layups; fans have obviously seen that the last two games, as he’s now 16-25 from the 3-point line in the playoffs, again a ridiculous 64%. He’s averaging 17.5 points per game in those seven contests and has scored 20 points in his last four playoff games, dating back to 2021 with Washington.

#PlayoffRui is real.

Yes, it’s a small sample size, but playoff series on inherently small sample sizes. A player catching fire for a game or a couple of games can swing a contest and a series. Rui is clearly in a groove right now with how the Grizzlies are guarding him, and he was an important factor in both games in Memphis.

Generally, role players play better in home games as well. Does that mean we’re in store for a 30-point Rui outing? It’s unlikely but can you really say it’s improbable given how he’s played so far?

There weren’t a ton of positives to take from Wednesday’s Game 2 loss, but Rui staying hot has to be one of the bigger ones as he continues to impress in his first postseason with the Lakers.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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