The Los Angeles Lakers are officially back and while the return wasn’t always pretty, they were able to pull off a big win against the Clippers. Anthony Davis was the unquestionable star for the team in the first game back. He was the top scorer out of both teams with 34 points and the Clippers didn’t really seem to have an answer for him.
The Lakers lost the first two games of the season against the Clippers but have now won the last two. Both Los Angeles teams are widely considered to be the best in the West. However, Davis has his focus narrowed.
“I’m worried about my team, and that’s the Lakers,” Davis told reporters after the game when asked about if he anticipated seeing the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals. “We can’t control what other teams do, how they play, and what they’re gonna do. So we only can control what we can control – and that’s how hard we play and going out there and competing every night.”
The Clippers were without a couple of key players for Thursday’s game so it would be shortsighted to believe that the Lakers have their number after this win. That said, it’s clear that they don’t have an answer for Davis. Due to the unprecedented nature of the NBA reboot, it’s probably smart for the Lakers to focus on their team and not worry about others.
Davis Says Game Felt Real
While nothing about the NBA return in Orlando is normal, the games flow surprisingly well. Davis admitted that it felt like a normal game.
“It felt like a real game to me, two teams battling,” Davis said. “Can’t complain for the first game.”
Obviously, the lack of fans will probably still take some getting used to but the league has done a very good job of making the transition less jarring. The first round of games was a success but it will need to be maintained for months. It’ll be interesting to see if the monotony of playing in the same arenas without fans will start to wear on the players.
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Lakers 1 Game Away From Clinching West
With the win over the Clippers, the Lakers have pretty much sealed the number one seed in the Western Conference. All they need to do is win one more of the seedings games, or have the Clippers lose one. There are seven games left so it’s hard to imagine the Lakers will blow that lead.
This year, home court advantage won’t matter as much. Teams are all playing with no real crowds. That said, it should give the Lakers an easier bath to the Finals as they’ll take on the eighth seed in the Western Conference in the first round. Right now, the Memphis Grizzlies have a decent lead over the Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth seed. It’s probably favorable for the Lakers if it stays that way as the Blazers have Damian Lillard, who is capable of taking over multiple games.