Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham scoffed at the criticism that the team has gotten for deciding to hang an In-Season Tournament banner at Crypto.com Arena.
“I think it’s great,” Ham said after he scoffed, according to Marc Stein. “We talked about it before we played that championship game. To be able to be first at something…this tournament is not going anywhere. I think it’s only gonna get better once they go back and look at what went well and some things they should change or enhance even more.
“One thing that’s a fact is that it was great for the fans. … It’s gonna be here, so it’s going to be a part of the fabric of the NBA, which is a great thing. So to be the first team to do it, I think it’s awesome. That cup…it’s a big shot in the arm for your group [and] for your franchise.”
The Lakers defeated point guard Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers in the inaugural In-Season Tournament championship game — which was held in Las Vegas — by 14 points back on Dec. 9.
To advance to the championship game, the Lakers had to first beat the Phoenix Suns in the quarterfinal round and New Orleans Pelicans in the semifinal round. Los Angeles beat the Suns by just three points but cruised to a 44-point win over Zion Williamson and the Pelicans in the following round of the tournament.
Austin Reaves finished with the second-most points of any Laker against the Pacers. Across 28 minutes of playing time off the bench, he finished with 28 points while shooting 9-of-15 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line. Plus, he chipped in two rebounds and three assists.
But big man Anthony Davis was arguably Los Angeles’ best player in the championship game. He put together easily his best performance of the season to this point in the Lakers’ 123-109 win, as he dominated on both ends of the floor. Davis totaled a whopping 41 points to go along with 20 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
After dropping 27 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds against the Milwaukee Bucks in Indiana’s semifinal game, Haliburton followed up his performance by not playing as well against the Lakers in the championship game. He still put up solid numbers though, seeing as how he racked up 20 points and 11 assists in 35 minutes of action.
Fast forward to current day, and Ham and the Lakers have a matchup against the New York Knicks — who own a 5-5 record over their last 10 games — coming up on Monday night.
At 14-11, the Knicks currently own the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference. They are fresh off a loss to floor general James Harden and the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.