Rivalry Reignited: Malone and Davis Weigh In on Lakers-Nuggets Tensions

The simmering tensions between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets came to the fore again this week.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Rivalry Reignited: Malone and Davis Weigh In on Lakers-Nuggets Tensions
© Getty Images Sport/Ezra Shaw

The simmering tensions between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets came to the fore again this week. As the Lakers gear up for a rematch, Denver coach Michael Malone emphasizes respect while reminding everyone about their recent 4-0 victory over the defending NBA champions.

Malone's Response to LA Talk

The Lakers' apparent preoccupation with the Nuggets became a point of discussion on Wednesday when Malone was asked about the ongoing chatter coming out of Los Angeles. Addressing the issue post-practice at the Nuggets' UC San Diego training camp, Malone remarked, "Oh, they're talking about us? That was what, four months ago?" He swiftly added, "This is a new season, a new challenge." He went on to mention the closely-fought nature of the series, despite the Nuggets' clean sweep.

Highlighting his admiration for the LA team, Malone stated, "I have tremendous respect for Darvin Ham as a coach and the job that he did." But in a clear indication that he's not one for getting involved in off-court drama, he noted, "I don't listen to any of that stuff.

I don't know what they're saying, and if we're on their minds, then I guess that's on them."

Davis Recalls Nuggets' "Motivational" Trash Talk

The motivation for the Lakers seems to be building. All-Star Anthony Davis, during Monday's interaction with Spectrum SportsNet, recalled the "trash talk" from the Nuggets post their sweep.

He described the triumphant chatter as a driving force, stating, "It was like, 'All right, we get it, y'all won.' " His conversations with teammate LeBron James echo a similar sentiment, revealing, "We can't wait [to play them again]." However, it wasn't all one-sided.

Before the NBA Finals, Malone cheekily referenced the Lakers' absence, saying, "If anybody is still talking about the Lakers in the NBA Finals, that's on them. They've gone fishing. We're still playing." In the midst of all this back-and-forth, one thing is crystal clear: the upcoming showdown between the Lakers and the Nuggets promises to be not just a physical contest on the court, but also a psychological one off it. As both teams prepare, fans are undoubtedly in for a treat, with pride and perhaps a hint of revenge at stake.

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