Western Conference: Los Angeles Lakers secure top-seed play-off spot for first time in decade

The Lakers are the first team to go from the lottery to the No. 1 seed since the 2007-08 Boston Celtics after beating the Utah Jazz on the 3rd of August to achieve the feat.

They now lead the Los Angeles Clippers by six games with only five left on their schedule as of Tuesday, so the gap is insurmountable.

Anthony Davis made 42 points as the Lakers bounced back from defeat to the Toronto Raptors to overcome a stubborn Jazz side 116-108 in Florida.

As top seeds, the Lakers’ journey towards that elusive 17th championship will begin against one of six possible Western Conference teams. The Memphis Grizzlies currently hold the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, but the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns can all earn the right to challenge them for it in a two-game play-in by finishing the season in the No. 9 slot with a record within four games of the whoever finishes No. 8 (which, presumably, will be Memphis).

It’s just one of the milestones of many to get to where we want to be,” Davis says.

All the stuff we’ve been through this season, to clinch number one in the West means a lot but we’re not finished.”

It is the 20th time this season Davis has scored 20 points or more in the first half for the side since Lakers Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January, led the team to the NBA Finals crown the last time they were top seeds in 2010.

To be in a category with him means a lot,” Davis added. “I know he’s looking down on us, cheering us on.”

Lakers power forward LeBron James finished with 22 points and nine assists.

He would now lead the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference into the playoffs as a championship favourite despite serious doubts after last season ended about him ever challenging for another championship.

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