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Darvin Ham responds to those who said Lakers should’ve tanked vs. Pelicans

Coming into Tuesday’s play-in tournament game between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans, some said the Lakers should’ve tanked the contest to get a more favorable first-round playoff matchup.

Instead of facing the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets in the first round, a loss on Tuesday would’ve meant a second play-in game on Friday against either the Golden State Warriors or Sacramento Kings. A win there would’ve given L.A. the eighth seed and a first-round date with the eminently beatable Oklahoma City Thunder.

But tanking on Tuesday would’ve been foolish and very risky, especially given how much the Lakers have struggled all year versus both the Warriors and Kings.

Instead, they took care of New Orleans, 110-106, on Tuesday to secure a playoff matchup against Denver, which will begin on Saturday.

Afterward, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham took a shot at those who said the team should’ve lost on purpose to have a shot at playing the Thunder instead in the playoffs.

If L.A. is to win it all this year, it will have to beat the Nuggets at some point along the way. Perhaps it is better for the team to face them, as it has won 12 of its last 15 games and, other than Jarred Vanderbilt and Christian Wood, is healthy enough.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire