Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis said that the Lakers want to get a playoff spot in the Western Conference and not end up in the league’s play-in tournament.
Anthony Davis: "We don't wanna be in the play-in tournament. We want to secure a spot (in the playoffs)."
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) February 3, 2023
The Lakers picked up a big comeback win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, moving them to 25-28 in the 2022-23 season. Los Angeles is still in the No. 12 spot in the West, but the team is just 2.5 games behind the No. 6 seed Minnesota Timberwolves.
With Davis back in the lineup after missing time with a stress injury in his right foot, the Lakers could be poised to make a run in the second half of the season.
Davis was terrific on Thursday against Indiana, scoring 31 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Los Angeles outscored the Pacers 28-15 in the fourth quarter to secure the one-point win.
Avoiding the play-in tournament is a great goal for the Lakers, as it would allow them to rest before the playoffs and they wouldn’t have to fight for a play-in win just to get into the final playoff field.
However, the team has been sitting on the outside of the playoff and play-in picture for the majority of the 2022-23 season.
The Western Conference is extremely tight right now, as just 5.5 games separate the No. 3 seed Sacramento Kings from the No. 13 seed Oklahoma City Thunder. That means just a few losses by some teams could vault the Lakers into the playoff picture.
If Los Angeles is going to have any shot at a playoff berth, Davis is going to play a major role in that. The veteran center is having one of the best seasons of his career in the 2022-23 campaign.
Davis is averaging 26.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this season. While he did deal with yet another injury this season, there’s no doubt that he makes the Lakers a better team when he’s on the floor.
Los Angeles already showed that it wants a shot at the playoffs by trading for forward Rui Hachimura. The former lottery pick gives the team a lot more depth for the stretch run this season.
With the league’s Feb. 9 trade deadline approaching, it will be interesting to see if the Lakers make another move to bolster this roster to chase a top-six seed in the West.