Basketball: Hachimura scores 29 points to lead Lakers to playoff win

Rui Hachimura scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 128-112 win Sunday over the Memphis Grizzlies in the teams' opening Western Conference playoffs first-round meeting.

The Japanese player racked up his team-high points total in just under 30 minutes off the bench, shooting 5-for-6 from three and 11-for-14 overall.

He also snagged six rebounds to help the seven-seed Lakers take a 1-0 series lead on the road at FedExForum in Memphis.

When asked about the reaction in Japan to the game, which took place in the early hours of the morning in his home country, Hachimura said he had not seen any messages yet but that people are "probably hyped about it."

"It is great. I want to show what I can do for my country. It is my country, I grew up there and I miss there and it is a good way to show how much I can do."

Hachimura's 29 points are the most for a Laker off the bench since Magic Johnson scored 25 in 1996, according to ESPN. His 29 points are a career playoff high.

Hachimura's teammate Austin Reaves scored 23 points, LeBron James 21 and Anthony Davis 22. Jaren Jackson Jr. led the Grizzlies with 31 points and star point guard Ja Morant, who was drafted the same year as Hachimura, scored 18.

Reaves called Hachumura's performance "huge" in the win.

"His skill set is crazy...He obviously shot the ball well tonight but he was solid on the defensive end, too, making plays there."

"He never tries to do too much, he is always under control...It is a big shout out to him for having a performance like that (and) we are going to need some more."

The teams play again in Memphis on Wednesday.

© Kyodo News