Lakers News: Darvin Ham Excited For In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal Against Suns
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA In-Season Tournament has given new life to the regular season and has given players incentive to compete and play in this tournament.

That has been the case for the Los Angeles Lakers, who went an undefeated 4-0 in West Group A, earning themselves the No. 1 seed of the entire conference due to their point differential being plus-74. L.A. seems motivated to win the tournament with three out of their four wins being double-digit victories.

Next up for the Lakers is the quarterfinals against the Phoenix Suns. This will be the third time these two teams have squared off with now a bit more at stake with the winner of Tuesday’s game going to Las Vegas for the semifinals. Head coach Darvin Ham talks about the familiarity between the two teams in the early part of the season.

“They haven’t been whole, we haven’t seen the three-headed monster together as of yet,” Ham said after practice on Monday. “Even with them having one of those guys out, they’re still a formidable ball club playing at a high level and so just try go out focus on what you need to do and put your best foot forward.”

With the In-Season Tournament presenting a different atmosphere and more being at stake, Ham was asked if he was going to coach Tuesday’s game any differently, perhaps similarly to a playoff game.

“Nah, we try to coach hard every time out. Obviously there is a lot riding on it for the In-Season tourney. I’m actually super, duper excited to coach it, I’m always trying to have fun out there, but definitely, with it being the In-Season Tournament, it adds a little more juice to it. It’ll be a fun experience for sure.”

The In-Season Tournament provides a playoff-type atmposhere during the regular season though, which will present some high-intensity basketball. That is something that stood out to Ham during his first go-around with the tournament.

“It’s not your regular run-of-the-mill game. Obviously, it’ll be a high-level game, it’s going to be a high-level game even without the extras of the In-Season Tournament just because of the matchup. Adding the In-Season Tournament puts a lot more fire on it, it’s something at stake. So, when you play like that, it’s as close as you can get at this point of the year to the playoffs.”

Lakers players have spoken out about how they are motivated to win the cash prize of $500,000 and winning the inaugural season of the tournament would serve as a motivator for the team as they continue to go through this season.

Now that everyone is healthy outside of Gabe Vincent, the Lakers are primed to make a run for the NBA Cup. With Kevin Durant and Devin Booker coming into town, L.A. is going to need all of their wings on deck to try and contain those two.

Anthony Davis happy to have home court advantage for In-Season Tournament quarterfinals

When the In Season Tournament was first introduced, there were some mixed reactions among players and fans, but it seems to be a more positive idea now. Due to the Lakers’ success in group play, they have home court advantage for Tuesday’s game against the Suns, which Anthony Davis is happy about.

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