Why the Lakers’ real test begins now, after dispatching the No. 2 Grizzlies

With a grueling schedule ahead, the Los Angeles Lakers turned in their most dominant performance of the season in a 125-85 win over the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2023 playoffs. Lakers coach Darvin Ham arrived early to Crypto.com Arena, and LeBron James was already there going through his pregame routine. James had 22 points, six assists and five rebounds. Anthony Davis had 16 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks while D’Angelo Russell had 31 points on 12-for-17 shooting. The Lakers will play the winner of the Golden State-Sacramento series next.

The Lakers started the season 2-10, but they’ve turned it all the way around now, becoming the second team in NBA history to start 2-10 or worse and recover to win a playoff series, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. LeBron James expects to contend for championships and his organization to surround him with a cast that can help him do so. That’s actually happened in 10 of James’ previous 19 seasons. But only one of those trips to the Finals has come during his time in Los Angeles (2020).

LeBron James gives his knowledge about what he’s been through in the postgame speech to his team after beating the Grizzlies. James said he spent the hours in between Games 5 and 6 entirely focused on rest. After every game these days, James gets asked how he keeps both his body and his mind at a high level at his age. The resounding theme in every answer is that James still has the desire to train year-round and an attention to detail that both inspires his teammates or intimidates them enough not to disappoint him.

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