Anthony Davis: Lakers ‘playing desperate’ in regular season’s final days

The defending NBA champions likely didn't envision themselves "playing desperate" in the final week of the regular season.

That urgency helped the Los Angeles Lakers get a crucial win Tuesday before LeBron James' expected return.

Talen Horton-Tucker's clutch 3 with 20 seconds left gave the Lakers a 101-99 win over the New York Knicks at Staples Center. The Lakers remain in seventh place in the Western Conference, but they pulled within a game of the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks in the standings and boosted their hopes of avoiding the play-in tournament.

"We know the position we are in. We are playing desperate," said Anthony Davis. "That is all we can do. This win is a confidence booster for us. If LeBron comes back tomorrow, hopefully we can get him acclimated and back in the rhythm. We want him to get healthy and be ready for the playoffs."

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[email protected] had another nice night for the #LakeShow (20 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST). He spoke post-game with @LakersReporter about tonight’s battle with New York, THT’s game-winner, and more. pic.twitter.com/CaFtFN0z6N

The playoffs begin on May 22, with the play-in games beginning next Tuesday. The Lakers have three games left in the regular season to claim a top-six seed and a guaranteed spot in the first round.

Climbing out of play-in position won't be easy, but there is a pathway for the Lakers. It starts with winning out and includes getting some help. Los Angeles needs to go 3-0 the rest of the way. Because the Blazers and Mavericks both have the head-to-head tiebreaker on them, the Lakers need either Portland or Dallas to go 1-2 or worse.

Pulling out the win Tuesday was a gutsy endeavor. Shorthanded and banged-up, the Lakers ran up against a Knicks team eager to clinch it's first playoff berth in nearly a decade. Davis, who played his 11th game since returning from a two-month injury absence, admitted a sore groin hampered him.

"The groin got a little tight, but there was no way I was coming out the game," Davis said. "It was a huge game for us and I didn't want to come out no matter the injury and finish the game and make sure we secured the win."


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