LeBron James
LeBron James finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers escaped the Pelicans to get their second win of the 2022-23 NBA season. Harry How/Getty Images


  • The Lakers need LeBron James and Anthony Davis put up big numbers simultaneously
  • Keeping the rebounding battle will also be a necessity against the Golden State Warriors
  • Rui Hachimura cannot feasibly carry bench scoring by himself

The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves tied at one game apiece with the defending champions Golden State Warriors after the latter blew out the former from the waters with a 127-100 victory in Game 2.

As the series moves to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4, the onus is on the Lakers to dig deep within themselves and find the resolve to respond in a big way across the board.

Below are three keys to victory the Lakers will need to focus on for Game 3.

Simultaneous LeBron James, Anthony Davis Explosions

When the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis ahead of the 2019-20 season, expectations were high for fans of the Purple and Gold as Davis was seen to be the heir apparent to LeBron James for when the latter inevitably slows down his on-court production.

It has not gone to plan in the recent postseasons as they were ousted by the Phoenix Suns in 2021 while they missed the playoffs entirely last season, though they did win the 2020 NBA Championship.

Against a still-formidable Warriors team, the Lakers will need every bit of production from their top two stars–though a combined explosion has yet to happen in the playoffs.

During their six-game series with the Grizzlies, it has always been either James or Davis putting up big numbers, but not at the same time.

The Lakers' coaching staff will need to find a way to get both men going early and often if they want to survive the series against the Warriors.

Win Overall Rebounding Battle

Game 2 was a dismal out for Los Angeles on the boards as they were outrebounded 65 to 49, with the Warriors grabbing 11 more defensive rebounds and four more offensive boards than the Lakers.

Throughout the history of the game, the rebounding battle almost always determines who wins the matchup as defensive boards can lead to decent looks at the basket in transition while offensive boards open up second-chance opportunities.

The Lakers were lucky enough that Kevon Looney was dealing with an illness to enter Game 2, but still gave up 11 boards to Draymond Green despite having Davis and Jarred Vanderbilt on the floor most of the time.

Los Angeles cannot allow the Warriors to go off once again in the rebounding department and should aim to at least close the rebounding gap by going for gang rebounds instead of hoping the ball falls in their direction.

Bench Help Aside From Rui Hachimura

Throughout their current playoff run, Rui Hachimura has provided 107 points off the bench while the rest of their bench depth has only contributed 108 points.

Contribution from the bench will almost always determine the chances of winning for any team regardless if it is in the postseason or in the regular season and the Lakers can ill afford to have their bench squander any opportunities when they are on the floor.

In Game 2, Hachimura was the only double-digit scorer off the bench with 21 while the next highest scorer was Lonnie Walker IV who only played in the fourth quarter.

Dennis Schroder and Troy Brown Jr., and to a certain extent Malik Beasley and starter Austin Reaves, will need to be ready when their numbers are called on offense as they cannot be carried by James and Davis solely.

Game 3 is as pivotal as it gets for the Lakers since it puts them only two games away from a Western Conference Final berth all while ousting Golden State's chances of adding another title to their trophy cabinet.

Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves
#15 Austin Reaves and #28 Rui Hachimura of the Los Angeles Lakers. Lakers Daily/Twitter