LeBron James issues a warning to overconfident Lakers fans ahead of play-in tournament

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James isn't taking the New Orleans Pelicans lightly in their NBA Play-In Tournament game despite beating them two days beforehand.
Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards
Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers' regular season has reached its end, finishing in eighth place in the Western Conference standings with a 47-35 record. The thing is, that doesn't guarantee them a playoff spot. They will have to go through the NBA Play-In Tournament to earn a playoff berth.

The Lakers will face off against the New Orleans Pelicans in the 7/8 game in the Western Conference. if the Lakers win, they earn the No. 7 seed and face off against the Denver Nuggets in the opening round of the playoffs. If they lose, they will face the winner of the 9/10 game between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors for a shot at the No. 8 seed.

Interestingly enough, the Lakers faced off against the Pelicans on the road in their regular-season finale, in which they picked up a 124-108 win. So, the Lakers have the advantage right?

Star LeBron James spoke after the win this past Sunday and was asked by Spectrum SportsNet if he expects for the Pelicans to come out differently for their second matchup in New Orleans. James agreed with that sentiment.

James comments come at the 3:38 mark of Spectrum SportsNet's tweet below

"Two of these games are going to be extremely hard, extremely difficult, extremely physical. I've always known that when you play a playoff series, and I'm looking at this like it's a two-game playoff series, if you win that first game, a team has multiple days to kind of sit on that feeling or sit with that taste in their mouth of defeat," said James. "They're going to be extremely ready for us and we have to come in with the same sense of urgency as we've had the previous game."

LeBron James not taking Pelicans lightly ahead of NBA Play-In Tournament game

The last thing you want to do is take a team lightly, even if you beat them in a matchup a couple of days beforehand. The Play-In Tournament is essentially the playoffs. Depending on the situation, win and you're in. Lose, and you're out.

In their previous matchup on Sunday, Lakers big man Anthony Davis had a huge game, scoring 30 points while shooting 13-of-17 from the field, while grabbing 11 rebounds. However, Davis picked up a back injury during the game.

As for James, he notched a triple-double, scoring 28 points (11-for-20 from the field), dishing out 17 assists, and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Despite being diagnosed with back spasms, Davis will be available for Tuesday night's game. As for James, he will be available despite being listed on the injury report with left ankle peroneal tendinopathy.

The Pelicans are a dangerous team, considering they have Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and C.J. McCollum in the starting lineup. Let's not forget, they have the third-highest steals per game average (8.3) and the fourth-highest three-point percentage (38.3). So they won't be an easy out.

Tip-off time for Pelicans vs. Lakers is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, live on TNT.