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“Lakers don’t care about their position in the playoffs”

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“Lakers don’t care about their position in the playoffs”

No team wants to go through the risk of play-in to reach the postseason. But the Los Angeles Lakers have already proven that this is not an impediment to reaching the decisive stages of the competition. Last season, the Californians were the first team to qualify for the West finals after leaving the playoffs. Anthony Davis, therefore, guarantees that the Lakers don’t mind going through the experience again to enter the playoffs.

“We are chasing losses, but we are in the running. And if we don’t reach sixth place, we’ll go to play-in once again to build our history. We don’t care, after all, in which position we reach the knockout stages. We proved that this really doesn’t matter last year”, said the star, after the victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Today, the Lakers occupy ninth place in the Western Conference. In other words, it would be an even more difficult path than last season to reach the TOP 8. The Angelinos would have to win two consecutive knockout games. And, by the way, the second would be as a visitor. Davis, however, isn’t worried about this complicated path. After all, the Californians’ biggest opponent appears when they look in the mirror.

“We don’t evaluate the knockout stage by ‘choosing’ opponents, as we don’t prefer to face this team and not that other. I say this because everything revolves around ourselves, not others. The point is simply to reach the top eight in the West and then defeat whoever appears in front of us”, summarized the veteran pivot. He finished the game against the Thunder with 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

Read more about Anthony Davis

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Relentless Defender

The Lakers’ victory was thanks to great defense, in particular, from Austin Reaves on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The shooting guard, who averages more than 31 points this season, only scored 20 against the Californians. His five baskets and 13 shots from the field, in fact, were the lowest personal marks in 2024. For Davis, it was a brilliant work from the young Angel talent.

“Austin did a great job, first of all. She marked him by moving her feet, recognizing his tendencies and preferences. He understood when Shai wanted to get to the middle of the paint, attack the basket and use feints to draw fouls. It did a great job denying these practices and furthermore directing it to the center of our defense. It was a great job”, praised the star.

A player like Gilgeous-Alexander, in principle, will never be completely “stopped”. But, as far as possible, that’s what Reaves did. “This is a team that takes difficult shots and knows how to ‘force’ its way to the free throw line. Austin, however, made Shai struggle and contested every one of his shots,” Davis added.

Test of strength

The triumph over the then leader of the West was a test of the strength of the Lakers and Anthony Davis against a possible opponent in the playoffs. And, in fact, it was a categorical victory. The locals reached the last period winning by 17 points. Then, they opened 25 points with the reserves on the court. Reaves believes it was the type of performance that truly defines the current conference runners-up.

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“Oklahoma was coming off a tough game 24 hours earlier. But any time you enter the final quarter beating a team at that level with authority is a sign of defensive and offensive success. Whenever we beat an opponent like that, playing really good basketball, it’s encouraging. It’s something that excites us, above all, to move forward”, concluded an excited Reaves.

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