Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James signals during the first half of an NBA basketball play-in tournament game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Los Angeles Lakers punched their ticket to the 2023 NBA Playoffs in their 108-102 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime. The Lakers will face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Game one of the Lakers vs Grizzlies is on April 16 at 1:00P.M. Lakers star LeBron James expressed his respect for the team in great detail after their Play-In win.

“Jaren Jackson … his ability to block shots but offensively, he’s very dynamic as well,” James said. “Tyus Jones, the point guard off the bench who led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio in the last six years.”

He also acknowledged guard Ja Morant, the three-point shooting of guards Desmond Bane and Luke Kennard, and the gameplay of forward Dillon Brooks and center Xavier Tillman.

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“They got so many other guys off the bench that you can’t disrespect because they will make you pay,” James said. “Obviously, I haven’t thought about Memphis one minute.”

James contributed 30 points in the bout, he was one of three Lakers players to score over 20 points.

Minnesota held an advantage over the Lakers throughout the first half, shooting at 58.8 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from the three-point line.

“It’s a prideful group over there that really care for one another,” said Lakers head coach Darvin Ham. “[Minnesota] knows how to play basketball at a high level.”

This game marked the return of Dennis Schrӧder, who had been out with foot soreness. Despite sitting out part of the second quarter with a tweaked ankle, he came off the bench with 21 points.

“His heart, his competitive spirit,” Ham said about Schrӧder. “Just his ability to make big plays and take tough matchups and the biggest moments, his attitude, his confidence, he’s unbelievable, extraordinary.”

Schrӧder made a three-pointer that would have been the game-winning shot but center Anthony Davis fouled T-Wolves guard Mike Conley. The free throws he scored forced overtime.

Davis noted how the team has “next play mentality,” they remained positive as they headed into overtime.

“Whatever happens, happens. Let’s go finish this last five minutes and get a win and it’s what we did,” Davis said. “We didn’t worry about it and I’m always the first one to own up to my mistakes.”

The Lakers scored 17 second-chance points due to Davis’ nine offensive rebounds; he ultimately ended the night with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) reaches for the ball next to Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) and forward Kyle Anderson during the first half of an NBA basketball play-in tournament game Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell, who has averaged 16.7 points in the past 10 games, was 1-9 from the field and scoreless from deep. Ham noted that he has to be able to bounce back.

“You’re gonna have rough nights out there and I have all the confidence in the world in [Russell],” Ham said. “We’re gonna need them on this run that we plan to make, starting with game one at Memphis.”

The Lakers last two Playoff runs had been augmented by the COVID-19 pandemic in some fashion. Their 2020 championship run was in the NBA Bubble and their 2021 run had a restricted number of fans.

The Play-In against Minnesota had a sellout crowd of 18,997 fans. They poured thunderous jeers on the Timberwolves as they took free throws. Fans cheered when the Lakers made plays or when Minnesota missed shots.

“The crowd definitely got us back into it with our play,” Davis said. “Having the crowd behind us, it was fun, the energy was there.”