Lakers’ Rui Hachimura said the Nuggets ‘don’t have a rim protector’ during an interview at halftime last night

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Rui Hachimura Game 2 vs Nuggets pic

Last night, the Lakers lost Game 2 108-103 and are down 2-0 to start the Western Conference Finals. LeBron James and Austin Reaves both scored 22 points last night as starters for the Lakers. Rui Hachimura has been impressive off the bench for the Lakers in the 2023 playoffs. In a halftime interview last night, Hachimura said the Nuggets ‘don’t have a rim protector’ and that got the attention of the media. 

The 25-year-old Japanese native was traded mid-season to the Lakers from the Washington Wizards. Hachimura was the 9th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He played 177 games for Washington and made 118 starts. In 33 regular season games with the Lakers, he made nine starts.

Head coach Darvin Ham has utilized Hachimura’s offensive abilities off the bench for the Lakers in the 2023 postseason. Despite his success, the Lakers are down 2-0 to the Nuggets and desperately need a win in Game 3. NBA betting sites have the Lakers at (-220) to win Game 3 at home.

Rui Hachimura played 30 minutes and scored 21 points off the bench in Game 2

At halftime, Hachimura was perfect 7-7 from the field, and he met with ESPNs Lisa Salters for a halftime interview. He had 17 points and was clearly feeling himself at that moment. Hachimura has this to say to Salters when asked what was working for him offensively.

“Just trying to attack to the rim. They don’t have a rim protector.”- Rui Hachimura

His comments were subtle shots at Denver’s Nikola Jokic who may not be your typical shot-blocking rim protector. However, the Lakers failed to have their rim protectors make a difference late in the game. Hachimura would only take three more field goal attempts in the second half, making one of those three. After 17 points in the first half, he ended Game 2 with 21 points.

The Lakers had no answer for Jamal Murray in the fourth quarter last night. Denver’s PG came into the fourth with 14 points and only five made field goals. Murray took over late in the game and scored 23 of his 37 points in the fourth. Jokic and the Nuggets have a strong 2-0 lead on the Lakers, but we’ve seen a few teams make a comeback in the conference finals when down 2-0. LeBron James has done that twice in his postseason career.