LeBron James whipped a pass to Cam Reddish, who was standing behind the three-point arc when he caught the basketball. With Ziarie Williams closing out on him, Reddish pump-faked the Memphis forward to clear some room. Reddish then calmly reset his feet and confidently knocked down the three-ball early in the second quarter.
Reddish sheepishly smiled, as did the rest of his teammates, all of them sensing it was going to be that kind of night for the typically poor-shooting Lakers from behind the three-point line.
At the end of the first half, the Lakers had shot 55% from three-point range, going 11 for 20, a big reason why they led by 23 points after the first 24 minutes of play during the in-season tournament game against the Grizzlies.
By game’s end, the Lakers shot 22 of 35 from three, the made three-pointers tying their franchise record.
Their 62.9% shooting was the highest three-point field-goal percentage in a game with at least 35 attempts in NBA history, according to ESPN.
And this was from a Lakers team that had entered the game as the second-worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, making just 30.5%.
“Of course. I mean, you don’t want to be that guy. You don’t want to be that guy when the team is shooting extremely well,” said James, who was three for six from three-point range. “You want to try to chip in and be a part of that. So, definitely a great shooting night for us tonight and a good win for us.”
The leader in the Lakers’ three-point shooting contest was D’Angelo Russell, who shot six for eight from three to help him score a team-high 24 points.
There also was Austin Reaves coming off the bench to be perfect from three-point range, going four-for-four and scoring 16 points.
Not to be forgotten was Rui Hachimura, who made all three of his three-pointers while scoring 23 points.
“Like I said, just making shots is a beautiful thing to see,” said Reaves, who was five-for-nine from the field. “Probably doesn’t matter if you make almost 63 percent from three, but did you like the other stuff? We shot (62.9) percent? That’s impressive. Yeah, our last game we shot 21 and now we’re shooting (62.9%).
LeBron James back in action
The left calf contusion that force James to miss Sunday’s game still isn’t all the way back, but that didn’t stop him playing 23 minutes against Memphis and it probably won’t keep him out of the back-to-back game Wednesday night at home against the Sacramento Kings
James was injured during the game against the Suns in Phoenix last Friday night.
He had three days to rest.
“I got better as the game went on, started to warm up a little bit,” he said. “Still not 100%, but good enough for me to go out there when I went through my pregame warmup, things of that nature. Happy to be back on the floor with my guys.”
James was efficient during his time on the court, going six for 11 from the field.
He also had nine rebounds and six assists, another all-around game for James.
“I’m just going out there and just playing free. Free basketball,” James, who turns 39 next month, said. “I feel like it’s not anything that I cannot do that I did back in my 20s on the basketball floor. So, I’m going to continue to just try to be the ultimate triple threat: scoring in the low post, scoring in the paint, scoring in the midrange, scoring three. Get to the free throw line when I can. Things of that nature. So I’m always just trying to keep the defense at bay and always have the ability to be able to rebound and find my teammates. So, that’s always key.”
Jaxson Hayes active
Jaxson Hayes was sprinting down the court in the second quarter, doing his best to keep up with the fast break the Lakers were running. By the time he reached the three-point line, Hayes saw that Reaves was throwing a lob pass and that it was intended for the seven-foot Hayes.
Hayes caught the pass and threw down a dunk, his teammates enjoying the finish of the exciting play.
“The lob that Austin threw me I was surprised because he threw it when I was at the three-point line and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I got to take off.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not going to catch this.’ And then I somehow got to it,” Hayes said. “Shout-out to AR for that pass.”
It was the best game Hayes has played for the Lakers this season.
He made all four of his shots, scored 11 points, blocked three shots and dunked with force when he got the opportunity.
“I just felt like I actually saw a rhythm tonight,” he said. “Go with the flow of the game. I felt like I was actually in the flow of the game, just getting more used to playing with this team.”