NBA

'Every seed matters' for LeBron James as Lakers outlast Grizzlies

By Sports Desk April 13, 2024

LeBron James said "every seed matters" for the Los Angeles Lakers after he combined with Anthony Davis to power them past the Memphis Grizzlies and go eighth in the Western Conference.

The Lakers entered Friday's game – their penultimate outing of the regular season – on a two-game losing streak and jockeying for position with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. 

However, James put up 37 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Davis added 35 points as the injury-hit Grizzlies failed to hold on after going 118-117 up with one minute and six seconds left.

James sank six points in the final minute to lift Los Angeles one game clear of Sacramento and Golden State, both of whom suffered defeats later on Friday.

"Every game matters. Every seed matters. Wherever you fall, you can't play in the past," James said.

"I can't say I would much rather be where we are today than be the number one seed. That would be a lie. Seeds matter, and wherever you fall, you take that challenge."

The Lakers emerged from the Play-In Tournament to reach the Western Conference Finals last year before being dispatched by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

With coach Darvin Ham plotting a route through the postseason, he left James out on the court for 41 minutes on Friday, while Davis played 43 minutes on his return from a left eye injury which kept him out of Tuesday's loss to the Warriors. 

Asked about the risks of keeping the duo out there, Ham said: "In the moment, you're not worried about that. You're worried about securing the victory you came to get. 

"Everyone knows what time it is. It's that time of the year. Everyone knows what's at stake. 

"Whatever we need, and however long we need to push guys, we've got to have it, and they understand that."

Memphis are guaranteed to end a frustrating campaign 13th in the West, and Scotty Pippen Jr. said they were simply playing for future opportunities after scoring a career-high 28 points.

"The emphasis going into the game was to play hard," Pippen said. "We knew they were playing for something, and they probably thought we were playing for nothing. 

"But a lot of guys here are playing for opportunities. That's our motivation."

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