Lakers make history by earning No. 1 seed after playoff drought
With their 116-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night, the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, marking the first time in 10 years that the team has accomplished this feat.
For a variety of reasons, the Lakers have missed the playoffs in recent years. It’s a shame, as the historic franchise is beloved around the globe. Now, though, they’re back, and they have another record under their belt.
According to ESPN, the Lakers are the first team in NBA history to clinch the top seed in their conference immediately after a five-year playoff drought:
The Lakers are the first team in NBA history to earn the top seed in their conference immediately after a 5-year playoff drought.
Next up: the OKC Thunder 🍿 pic.twitter.com/wHdiSKgmux
— ESPN (@espn) August 5, 2020
Anthony Davis had a monster game against the Jazz. In his 39 minutes of action, the former No. 1 overall pick racked up a whopping 42 points on 13-28 shooting (4-of-8 from downtown), 12 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block. He also made 12 of his 15 shots at the free-throw line — an aspect of his game that continues to shine. And just for the record, he had 24 points by halftime, marking the 20th time this season he has scored at least 20 points in a half.
LeBron James has been on a facilitating kick, and that trend continued against the Jazz. James got his teammates involved early, finishing with 22 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel believes his team is building the right habits to win in the postseason:
“If you’re winning enough games to secure the No. 1 seed, you’re building the right habits that are going to be necessary for you to win in the playoffs,” Vogel told ESPN after clinching the No. 1 seed in the West. “Obviously we have bigger aspirations than the No. 1 seed, but we are proud of the accomplishment and we’ll enjoy it while we’re getting ready to get our group ready for the playoffs.”
The Lakers will be back in action on Wednesday night with a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tip-off inside the bubble is set for 6:30 p.m. ET, with ESPN having live broadcast coverage.