The Los Angeles Lakers have claimed the sixth seed in the Western Conference. After a year full of struggles and uncertainty, they have battled all the way up the standings and now own a playoff spot of their own. However, with how packed the Western Conference is, nothing is guaranteed, so they can’t lose focus now.
On Tuesday night, the Lakers took over the sixth seed with a clutch win over the Utah Jazz. Things got messy down the stretch, but Anthony Davis’ solid play and LeBron James’ clutch buckets helped LA earn a win. After the game, James spoke about how the team had to adjust and stay calm when the Jazz started pressuring Davis in the second half.
“Well, in the second half, they were definitely not trying to let AD play,” James said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “You can see they were doubling him on every catch, so we had to be ready on a perimeter to make plays. But AD was still being aggressive. But in overtime, even though they started overtime with a three-point play, it’s all about just keeping your composure and knowing that five minutes is an eternity. So, for me, I just try to slow the game down in those moments, which I was able to do.”
With how well Davis played, it’s not hard to see why the Jazz started to double-team him. He finished the game with 21 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks on 7-of-16 shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, James was absolutely dominant. He ended the night with 37 points, five rebounds, and six assists on 14-of-27 shooting from the floor and 3-of-10 shooting from behind the three-point line.
LeBron James Sends Message to Lakers
With just a few games left in the season, every game counts for the Lakers. One bad loss could send them tumbling into the Play-In Tournament, but a few big wins could secure them a playoff spot. James recently stressed the importance of playing hard at all times and finishing the season strong.
“These last four games are very important for our team,” James said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Not only in wins and losses, but in the chemistry side of it as well. We got to continue to build what we’ve been building over the last month or so. So we’ll see what happens.”
LeBron James Shows Love to Rui Hachimura
In addition, James has shown a ton of love to the role players on the Lakers. This includes Rui Hachimura, who had a huge game in the team’s recent win over the Houston Rockets.
“I think he’s a rhythm player, and when he knows he’s going to play and he’s going to get a significant amount of minutes off the bench, I think he can be really, really good for us,” James said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “I think coach [Darvin] Ham has done a great job over the last couple games, including the coaching staff, of finding a rotation that’s been fitting our team and Rui has been one of the first guys off the bench and we look for him. We know what he’s capable of.”