Anthony Davis isn’t too worried about the challenge Jaren Jackson Jr. presents as a defensive presence.
The Los Angeles Lakers star was asked on Saturday about Jackson — a Defensive Player of the Year candidate — roaming defensively and the unique challenge it presents. Davis says they have a plan to combat it.
“We have some things for it. I’m not going to say it and have it get back to Memphis and things like that,” Davis said. “But we have ways to kinda combat what he likes to do. … We talked about it. And we’ll be ready for it.”
As a team, the Grizzlies ranked No. 3 in defensive rating this season, with Jackson playing a large part in that. Davis will likely find himself matched up with Jackson on more than a few occasions but has been on a stellar run offensively, recently being named the Western Conference Player of the Month for March. Davis is averaging 25.9 points and 12.5 rebounds this season.
Lakers Not Worried About Seeding
The Lakers had to battle in the Play-In Tournament to secure their spot in the postseason, knocking off the Timberwolves 108-102. LA is the No. 7 seed against the No. 2 Grizzlies but that’s not something the Lakers are focused on.
“I think seeding doesn’t matter,” Davis said, per ESPN. “Once you get in, it’s all about matchups and things like that. We don’t look at ourselves as underdogs, obviously.”
His Lakers co-star, LeBron James, echoed that sentiment, saying everything that happened in the regular season is behind them.
“It’s 16 teams in the postseason, and there’s opportunity for all 16,” James said. “Everyone’s record is 0-0 now and we’re playing against a very worthy opponent and we respect them a lot. So we just got to be ready for the challenge.”
The playoffs are all about getting momentum at the right time and the Lakers have just that. LA has won 10 of their last 12 games and went 2-1 against the Grizzlies during the regular season.
“We’ve got to come in locked in and prepared,” Davis said. “… Our goal this season was to get in, wherever we got in to, and now it’s all about matchups and going out and trying to get Game 1.”
Lakers Can Stack Up With Anyone When Healthy
What’s also working in the Lakers’ favor is that they are finally healthy. The injury report listed Davis, James and Dennis Schroder with various ailments they have been dealing with but all are probable to play.
“We see playoff teams drop home games all the time, and it feels like it’s a fair playing field,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said. “We’ve got a healthy team, a healthy, deep, talented roster.”
The Lakers are slight underdogs (+105) to win the series against the Grizzlies, which seems about right considering Memphis has home court for the series. Memphis is a 3.5-point favorite for Game 1 on Sunday.