The Los Angeles Lakers clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with their 116-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday.
After the game, Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma took to Twitter to shout out “real Laker fans” who stayed loyal with the franchise through all their hardships over the past decade:
Real laker fans remember the losing seasons. Here ya go #1 😤🔒
— kuz (@kylekuzma) August 4, 2020
Die-hard Lakers fans surely still remember the nightmares of those Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly days.
Los Angeles already clinched a playoff berth even before the hiatus, ending a six-year postseason drought. The most recent win over the Jazz secures the Lakers the top spot in the conference for the first time since the 2009-10 season, the year the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers won their second straight NBA title.
Anthony Davis had a monster game against the Jazz on Monday. AD recorded 42 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Lakers to their 51st win of the season.
Returning to the postseason as the No. 1 seed must be very satisfying for Lakers fans, especially for those who stuck it out through all these losing seasons of late (though nobody is crying for them). The franchise had gone through a dark period ever since the 2012-13 season, the last time Los Angeles made the playoffs. Before this season, they went 163-329 through the last six years, including a 17-65 campaign in the 2015-16 season.
The franchise began its journey back to relevance after LeBron James signed a four-year deal with the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Though they missed the playoffs in LeBron's first year in Los Angeles, a blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis in the 2019 offseason instantly penciled the Lakers in as a title favorite. So far, they have been as good as advertised.
Clinching the No. 1 seed is nice and all. This, however, wouldn't mean anything if they don't raise that Larry O'Brien trophy at the end of the season.