As things stand in the Western Conference right now, the Lakers are the fifth seed. But they only have a 2.5 game lead over the sixth place Portland Trail Blazers and seventh place Dallas Mavericks, the latter of whom they lost to on Thursday night and have another game against on Saturday.
That makes the second matchup of their current baseball-style series in Dallas potentially really meaningful, but while starting point guard Dennis Schröder was clearly burned about the five-point defeat — he answered a question about Frank Vogel saying it might have been his best game of the season by saying that if it was, the Lakers would have won — he also is not worried about the Lakers’ semi-tenuous place in the standings.
“First off, it don’t matter where we end up at, I believe,” Schröder said. “At the end of the day, we want to make the playoffs, we want to win games, and we want to focus on us. What we do. And try to get better every game until everybody gets back.”
Given Schröder’s competitive fire, that’s not exactly a shocking admittance. It also lines up with what the Lakers have said about seeding all year.
Still, Schröder’s words are notable, considering where the Lakers stand right now. With Anthony Davis returning on a minutes restriction and trying to get back into rhythm, Schröder said his primary focus in last night’s first half was to try and get his star teammate going, not necessarily going all out himself. They’ll have to go through a similar adjustment period when LeBron James comes back, and Schröder says making sure the team is firing on all cylinders when the postseason rolls around is more important than what seed they are heading into the playoffs.
“We can’t rush nobody. And I think everybody coming off the bench has to give everything they have to win a game,” Schröder said. “We’ve got to get better game-by-game and try to come out with some Ws.”
As long as they’re doing that, Schröder is confident the Lakers can handle whatever is next.
“If everybody is there, in a seven-game series, I’d put my money on us,” Schröder said.
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