Lakers News: LeBron James Called Play-In Tournament Win Over Timberwolves A ‘Playoff Atmosphere’
LeBron James, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers survived a hard-fought Play-In Game against the Minnesota Timberwolves that required an extra five minutes. On the backs of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder, L.A. was able to storm back from a deficit as large as 15 to get the overtime win over the Timberwolves.

The Crypto.com Arena crowd kept their energy throughout the game and arguably gave the Lakers a push in the final minutes. It could have been the motivating factor for the Lakers to allow just three points — three free throws from Mike Conley with 0.1 seconds on the clock — in the final 6:01 of the fourth quarter.

James spoke about the intensity of the game and how it compares to a true postseason game. “It was definitely a playoff game. Playoff atmosphere. Playoff intensity. Refs allowed us to play. It felt like the playoffs,” James said. “So it’s good to get into the playoff feel of the game.

“But obviously, it’s a different matchup that we have coming this weekend, Memphis. We will take our day off tomorrow and get our minds right and our bodies, whatever. Watch the Play-in Game tomorrow and then start to lock in on our opponent on Thursday as a group and go from there and see how we match up with this team.”

Despite holding the Timberwolves to seven total points in the final 12:01 of the game, including overtime, it was very clear that the Lakers were running on fumes due to the playoff intensity.

James, specifically, had a moment where he dove for a loose ball and was ultimately called for a foul when he tripped Taurean Prince in the process.

“I mean, absolutely. I mean, it’s playoff-intensified out there. You’re diving for loose balls, you’re taking charges, you’re running guys off the line trying to keep in front of them,” James said. “You’re rebounding, you’re assisting. You’re basically taking the gas tank down to E and trying to refuel as much as you can and see if there’s a reserve tank.

“Definitely. When you’ve got guys doing the same thing taking it down to E, it gives you motivation to also get up, and you’ll get energy after the game, but you can always find a way to make one more play or one more steal or one more block or one more rebound and get one more stop, and that’s what we did in overtime.”

The Lakers did not play particularly well for a majority of the game, but they earned every bit of their Play-In Game victory. Their defense in the second half was nothing short of incredible, and the offense made just enough plays to climb back into the game and steal the win on the Crypto.com Arena floor.

Now, the Lakers have four full days off before the start of their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. PT.

Austin Reaves likes healthy Lakers chances in playoffs

Lakers guard Austin Reaves has been one of the keys to the team’s midseason turnaround. And he seems to believe in what the team can do at full strength.

“Yeah, for sure. I think since the trade deadline we’ve played some of the best basketball in the league. And we’ve actually not been that healthy, we’ve had Bron out at points, we’ve had AD out at points and DLo. So if we’re whole and healthy, we like our opportunity.”

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