Darvin Ham Talks About Michael Malone’s Comments & Lakers’ Budding Rivalry With Nuggets
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Los Angeles Lakers were swept in the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets, it was an extremely tense and physical series in which every game was decided late in the fourth quarter. In the end, Darvin Ham and the Lakers simply couldn’t overcome Michael Malone and the Nuggets, who would go on to win the NBA Championship.

And now the Nuggets are the target for every team in the league and that certainly includes the Lakers, who made some changes to their roster in hopes of overtaking Denver in the West.

Ham recently appeared on the #thisleague UNCUT podcast with Marc Stein and Chris Haynes and believes that in order to defeat Denver, the Lakers have to match their arsenal:

“I just think we gotta fight fire with fire. The big thing about Denver is you can’t turn the ball over, you have to finish at the rim, you gotta get to the free throw line and make free throws. But you can not have any, what we call self-inflicted wounds, you can’t beat yourself, they’re tough. We’ll see because their core is young. They’re set up to make a run for plenty more years.

What we hope to do is again, all those guys I mentioned, get them in the gym as quickly as possible and start getting on the same page. Getting able to get a full training camp. Offseason, open gym, training camp and to start the season off with a unified group that’s highly talented, highly skilled and we’ve gotten younger. Again being able to fight fire with fire. There’s no one person you can go find that’s gonna stop these guys, you just gotta have a fully committed arsenal to throw back at the world champs.”

The Lakers certainly plan on coming back stronger when they face the Nuggets and the intensity in those games will undoubtedly be greater than usual, especially after all the words spoken after the series ended. In particular, Michael Malone brought up the Lakers on multiple occasions and was even referred to as the ‘Lakers’ Daddy’ during Denver’s championship parade.

That didn’t sit well with Ham, who jokingly had some words for the Nuggets coach:

“Oh wow, bring up ‘Money Mike,’ the Lakers’ daddy, right? That’s what they call him now, the Lakers’ Daddy… God bless his soul. This shit ain’t over. God bless his soul.”

Great rivalries always make the games that much more exciting and intense. The Lakers have had some great ones over the years and now one with the Nuggets and possibly between Ham and Malone themselves could be the latest.

Darvin Ham believes Lakers guard Austin Reaves will be an All-Star soon

Ham also had plenty to say about his own players, with guard Austin Reaves being chief among them. Reaves is back with the Lakers on a new four-year contract and Ham had high praise for the young star.

Ham said Reaves will be an All-Star ‘at some point soon’ while praising the guard’s competitiveness and fearlessness. The Lakers coach added that he expects Reaves to be a champion as well, which they likely will have to go through Denver to achieve.

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