The No. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers (43-39), after closing out their regular season with a 128-117 win over the Utah Jazz, wilt host the No. 8 seed Minnesota Timberwolves (42-40) in the play-in game on Tuesday at Arena.

Following the regular season finale, various Lakers offered initial reactions to the Wolves matchup, which became official about 30 minutes after the buzzer (Darvin Ham wrapped his press conference seconds before the opponent was solidified and declined to comment).

LeBron James, who drilled a season-high eight 3-pointers against Utah, said his only thoughts on hearing the Lakers will get Minnesota next is “that we get Minnesota next.”

“We prep. We start playoff prep tomorrow for them. And we get ready for Tuesday.”

Both LeBron and Anthony Davis (16 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 4 blocks) expressed gratitude that the Lakers will be the home team for Game 83.

“For us, it's just good that we don't have to travel,” said LeBron. “But we shouldn't be comfortable. Have to be on edge.”

(LeBron, AD, and Ham immediately brought up the need for rest after the Lakers' struggled to fend off the short-handed Phoenix Suns on Friday.)

Minnesota — who had a tumultuous season finale that included Rudy Gobert punching a teammate and being sent home and Jaden McDaniels breaking his hand by punching a wall — are 2-1 this season vs. Los Angeles. However, the Lakers are riding a West-best 18-10 record since the All-Star break and have won 9 of their past 11 contests.

“When you got guys like Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards — those guys can both go for 40 against you,” said LeBron. “You got a very cerebral point guard like Mike Conley Jr. that's been in multiple playoff games … We know what we're getting ourselves into.”

“That team's got a lot of firepower,” said D'Angelo Russell, who spent 3.5 seasons with the Wolves. “Defensive intensity is gonna get us out of there … they've got some heavy hitters in there.”

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Davis also took time out of his postgame remarks to note the importance of getting Dennis Schroder back into the mix. Schroder — whom Ham called the team's best perimeter defender on Sunday — has missed the past two games with a combination of neck and Achilles soreness. He's day-to-day.

If the Lakers lose to the Wolves, they'll face the winner of Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 10 seed) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (No. 10 seed) on Friday at Arena. If they prevail on Tuesday, they'll face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. (They'll certainly want Dennis back to check Ja Morant, but one step at a time.)

The Lakers should have one tactical advantage: Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt's familiarity with Minnesota's playbook.

“Not the fact that they traded me has anything to do with it, but the fact that they're in the way of what we're trying to get done,” Russell said about whether he'll be especially motivated to face that dealt him at the deadline. “That's all that really matters, to be honest.”

Malik Beasley, on the other hand …


Remarkably, Tuesday's play-in game will be the first full-capacity Lakers home postseason game since LeBron joined the franchise, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

The Lakers' turnaround from a 2-10 start into the No. 7 seed is not lost on them, but the real work begins now.

“It's been a grind, man,” said AD. “We know we're not finished.”