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#pounditSaturday, May 18, 2024

Darvin Ham has harsh response to those saying Lakers should have lost on purpose

Darvin Ham in a suit

Apr. 7, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Lakers 125-105. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers secured a playoff berth with their win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night, and head coach Darvin Ham had a strong message afterward for those who believe his team should have handled the situation differently.

Following their 110-106 win over the Pelicans at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, La., the Lakers will now face the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. Had the Lakers lost, they would have hosted the winner of the Golden State Warriors-Sacramento Kings game in another play-in game. The winner of that game would have then faced the No. 1-seed Oklahoma City Thunder in the opening round.

Because the Lakers have struggled so badly against the Nuggets dating back to last year’s playoffs, some people suggested L.A. would be better off losing to the Pelicans and trying to beat the Warriors or Kings to set up a first-round series against Oklahoma City. Ham told reporters on Tuesday night that those people belong in an “insane asylum.”

Ham is right that the suggestion was absurd. The goal for the Lakers was to have an opportunity to play a first-round series, regardless of their opponent. The fastest way to accomplish that was by beating New Orleans, which they did. It’s not like it was a guarantee L.A. would have beaten the Kings or Warriors had they lost to the Pelicans.

Sure, the Nuggets swept the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals last year and there were some ugly moments along the way. But if the Lakers want to win a title, they are probably going to have to go through Denver anyway. They might as well face the challenge now.

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