At the start of the season, all hope seemed lost. The Los Angeles Lakers jumped out to a 2-10 record, fumbling their way through the beginning of the year. It looked as though they were going to miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.
However, a successful trade deadline saw the Lakers completely shift their roster. They added a ton of talent, and now, after winning their Play-In game, they are the seventh seed, ready to take on the Memphis Grizzlies. Ahead of the series, LeBron James spoke about how everyone is on an even playing field now.
“It’s 16 teams in the postseason, and there’s opportunity for all 16,” James said via ESPN. “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.”
James dealt with some bad injury luck this season, as did other key members of the Lakers. Despite all that, they battled all the way back and made the playoffs. Now, they have a chance to make a deep postseason run.
In addition, big man Anthony Davis also made a similar statement to James’, explaining that everything is different in the playoffs.
“I think seeding doesn’t matter,” Davis said via ESPN. “Once you get in, it’s all about matchups and things like that. We don’t look at ourselves as underdogs, obviously.”
The Grizzlies are the two-seed for a reason, but LA has been one of the best teams in the league since the All-Star break. Heading into the series, the two squads may truly be on an equal playing field.
Austin Reaves Sends Message on Ja Morant
Memphis is led by point guard Ja Morant – a multi-time All-Star who has proven to be one of the best players in the league. Having him on their side, the Grizzlies will always have a chance to win.
“Ja is just a really good player,” Reaves said via Spectrum SportsNet. “Obviously as we’ve seen the last three years or so. There’s different variations we can do and different coverages we can try out, but at the end of the day, he’s a really good player and he’s gonna ultimately get his. So we just gotta limit him, make it hard for him in whatever way we can and it’s really just about us locking in and playing as hard as we can.”
Anthony Davis Discusses Jaren Jackson Jr.
In addition, the Grizzlies also have Jaren Jackson Jr. – the likely Defensive Player of the Year. Davis recently hinted that the Lakers have some ways to counteract what he brings to the table.
“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 via Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “But we have ways to kinda combat what he likes to do. … We talked about it. And we’ll be ready for it.”