Anthony Davis: Lakers Aware Of Current Western Conference Positioning
Anthony Davis, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With their win on Saturday over the Cleveland Cavaliers, their fourth straight and ninth in the last 10 games, the Los Angeles Lakers finally saw their seed in the Western Conference improve. Thanks to the dominance of Anthony Davis and a 19-0 third quarter run, the Lakers jumped ahead of the Sacramento Kings into the eighth spot.

This is a huge difference if the Lakers can maintain or improve this spot. Getting out of the Play-In Tournament is still possible, though unlikely. But staying in at least the eighth spot would mean the Lakers would have two chances to win one game in order to qualify for the playoffs.

And even though the team has continually preached focusing on each individual game and not paying attention to the standings as a whole, Davis admitted the Lakers are aware that they moved up in the standings and can continue to rise if they keep playing this way.

“We know the position that we’re in and the opportunity that we have,” Davis said after the win over Cleveland. “Today was a big opportunity to move up to eight, which we did, but I think what’s understood doesn’t have to be explained, and we all know the position that we’re in. What we can do with four games left, so just keep stacking, keep focusing on one game at a time, and continue to build on what we’re doing, especially on the defensive end.”

The Lakers are currently just 0.5 games behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the seventh seed, which would give them two home games in the Play-In Tournament if needed to advance into the playoffs. But the focus and mindset that Davis, LeBron James, Austin Reaves and others have been speaking about over the past few weeks must continue.

As Davis said, focusing on what the Lakers can control, one game at a time, has done the Lakers well. Continuing to lock in defensively will be key over these final few games as the Lakers suddenly have a real chance to climb the standings, possibly even out of the Play-In altogether.

Anthony Davis believes Lakers are ‘really close’ to where they want to be defensively

Defense is where the Lakers hang their hat and the abilities of Anthony Davis on that end of the court are a main reason why they are capable of shutting teams down for stretches. The improvements for the Lakers have been noticeable and Davis feels the team is close to where they want to be defensively, even without Jarred Vanderbilt.

“We really close. We’re covering for each other, we’re talking,” Davis said. “Obviously, we’re missing Vando. I’m not sure when his return is, but AR is taking on a lot of big matchups. We’re confident as a defense. … We’re all stepping up defensively just to cover for the big piece that we are missing, but I think we are on the string right now defensively.”

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