The Los Angeles Lakers expended most of their time and energy on defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in Tuesday's Play-In Tournament thriller, but LeBron James had evidently allowed himself to look ahead to their first-round matchup with the West's No. 2 seed, the Memphis Grizzlies.

“Really good team. Very well-coached. Very well-balanced,” LeBron said about the Grizzlies, minutes after posting 30 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in 45 (!) minutes against the Wolves. “Obviously, the head of the snake is Ja Morant. But (they have) another All-Star in Jaren Jackson Jr., who is up there, one of the defensive players of the year, his ability to block shots. Offensively, he's very dynamic, as well. Tyus Jones, the point guard off the bench, has led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio, like, the last six years. So, he complements them very well. Desmond Bane … plays like a veteran, his ability to shoot the ball from the 3-point line, his ability to attack in early transition. Dillon Brooks … we can't disrespect him because he makes shots. Xavier Tillman been playing good basketball. Obviously, been well-coached since college days, with coach Izzo til now … They got Luke Kennard, who broke my scoring record in high school … and there's a reason why: cause he's a laser from the 3-point line … And they got some younger guys off the bench that you can't disrespect cause they will make you pay.

“Obviously, I haven't thought about Memphis one minute,” he cracked.

LeBron enjoys using the postgame podium to flex detailed knowledge of opposing teams, players, individual sequences, etc., but there may be gamesmanship going on here, too. It's hard to imagine LeBron didn't see Brooks' comments from earlier on Tuesday in which he said he was looking forward to bouncing the Lakers from the playoffs and liked the matchup for the Grizzlies. Perhaps LeBron was deploying a bit of reverse psychology when he says they can't “disrespect him because he makes shots.” Brooks is a 32.6% 3-point shooter whom the Lakers would probably love to leave open and see get trigger-happy. Brooks shot 11-of-45 in three games against the Lakers this season.

Anthony Davis, meanwhile (fresh off dropping 24/15/4/2/3 on the Wolves) was more straightforward — though identically metaphorical — in his initial series preview.

“Good team. Young, scrappy. Obviously, Ja, head of the snake. Jaren Jackson. Obviously, they have guys that's not gonna be playing, guys out — (Steven Adams), Brandon Clarke — but they're still a good team … Even without Ja, they're winning basketball games. … It's gonna be a fun and interesting series.”

Davis pointed out that Memphis has not typically doubled him, though that could change without Adams. After the Wolves threw doubles at him all night, Darvin Ham acknowledged that the Lakers must diversify their actions to get AD in beneficial spots.

Since March 9, Memphis (51-31) is 13-5. The Lakers (43-39) are 12-5, including Tuesday's win over Minnesota. Los Angeles won the season series, 2-1, though one game came before the trade deadline, LeBron missed the other two, and Ja missed the most recent meeting on March 7.