Anthony Davis, Frank Vogel discuss the potential matchup at the eighth seed

Anthony Davis
MEMPHIS, TN – FEBRUARY 29: Kyle Anderson #1 of the Memphis Grizzlies, Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers and De’Anthony Melton #0 of the Memphis Grizzlies look on during the game on February 29, 2020 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

Last night, the Los Angeles Lakers secured the first overall seed in the Western Conference with their 116-108 win over the Utah Jazz. It was a great night backed by a 42-point performance from Anthony Davis, as the Lakers will head into the playoffs with the number one seed for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

After the game, head coach Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis were asked about who they might face in the eighth seed now that it is guaranteed the Lakers will face them. Both individuals expressed the sentiment that the Lakers would not be glossing over the eighth seed opponent looking forward to the next round. Davis specifically said they would “respect” whoever ends up at the eighth seed and that Vogel realizes that he will have to do some serious coaching to prepare for the offense they might face in the first round (quotes courtesy of Lakers Nation reporting).

As it stands right now, the battle for the eighth seed is tighter than it was after the first couple nights of games. This was due to the New Orleans Pelicans beating the currently eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies last night. As it stands right now, the Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers would face off in a play-in tournament to see who would face the Lakers in the first round. The San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns are also still in the hunt, with all three teams being within at least 3.5 games back of the Grizzlies (a team will have to be within three games back to qualify for the play-in tournament but will have to have the best record/tiebreakers out of the other teams to get in). If you’d like to read our first-round previews of those individual teams, click the link within their team name.

Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis may be acting nice in the public eye just to not give a team extra motivation against the Lakers. The Spurs, Kings, and Suns (and arguably the other teams too) don’t necessarily have “firepower” at least when compared to the Lakers. Still, many have believed that the Trail Blazers and Pelicans could give the Lakers trouble in the first round behind Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson, respectively. The Grizzlies are not to be taken lightly either, as they comfortably beat the Lakers and held them to below 90 points in their last matchup.

There have only been three instances that an eighth seed has beaten the number one seed in a best-of-seven series, so the chances of the Lakers losing are very slim. Still, the team will have to take the opponent seriously as the Lakers may still be ramping up from their long absence at that point.

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