LeBron James On Clinching Top Seed In West: 'It's A Great Accomplishment'
After seven-straight seasons of not making the playoffs, the Lakers clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in Monday's 116-108 win over the Utah Jazz.
It's something the franchise hadn't done since 2010, when Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to his fifth and final championship.
For a team that's considered a favorite to win the championship, clinching the top seed could be relatively meaningless and inconsequential. But both LeBron James and Anthony Davis took a moment to put things into perspective on Monday evening.
"It's a huge accomplishment for our franchise," James, who had 22 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, told Spectrum SportsNet. "To know where we've been the last few years. To be able to know that we're the number one seed in the West. We set out to do that from the beginning of the season, also being one of the best defensive teams. It's a great accomplishment that we shouldn't overlook."
It was far from a surprise.
After the Lakers' 103-101 win over the Clippers in their debut in the NBA bubble on July 30, the Lakers were one win or one Clippers loss away from clinching the top seed with seven seeding games remaining.
And this season the accomplishment means something different than it has in the past.
With all games being played at Walt Disney World near Orlando, no team is going to have a real home court advantage except for seeing their decal on the court. There's no fans. No travel.
But the Lakers had set out to clinch the top seed from day one -- and the moment was not lost on them.
"We just reached one of our milestones," Davis said. "No one knew before the game, players-wise. We never talked about it. But to do something like that, it’s been a long time coming for Laker Nation."
Davis finished with 42 points, including making four three-pointers. He was aggressive from the get-go, scoring 24 points on 17 shots in the first half, 10 more shots than he took in the entire game against Toronto on Saturday.
Davis, who is trying to win his first championship, said Monday was one small step closer to the team's ultimate goal.
"We’re not done, still we’ve got a long way to go," Davis said. "But it’s a good accomplishment for our organization."