Five months ago, a Lakers-Nuggets rivalry did not exist. And if given only the information of how the series played out with Denver winning in a sweep, one would assume a rivalry still would not exist.
But boy howdy is there a rivalry brewing rapidly.
Trash talk during the series gave way to Denver doing lots and lots of it after winning the title. In fact, almost all of the trash talk has come from one side of the match-up.
It was so much that LeBron addressed it over the summer. Darvin Ham was also well aware of the talk that was going on as well. And at Monday’s media day, Anthony Davis revealed just how much the Lakers took motivation from how the season ended.
“It’s very motivational,” Davis said. “I mean, obviously KCP is my guy so you kind of congratulate him, like ‘you got this one.’ But it was just a lot of like, the talking, and ‘the Lakers dad,’ there was just so much of that going on it was like ‘all right, we get it, y’all won,’ but me and Bron had some conversations like ‘we can’t wait.’ ... There’s no moral victories. It ain’t like ‘oh we had a 0.3% chance of making (the playoffs) and we got to the West (finals).’ Nah. We feel like we had enough to win.
“Obviously we had to climb an uphill battle for two months trying to make the playoffs, but it’s a lot of motivation. You want to win. Anytime you lose it’s motivation to get ready for the next season to try to compete for a championship, so that in itself is motivation. But also all the little talking that’s been going around all summer...”
Spectrum Sportsnet anchor Allie Clifton followed that up by asking if AD heard all the noise and trash talk this summer.
“Yeah. I’m not on social media, and I heard it.”
For those counting down the days, the first game between the Lakers-Nuggets won’t be a long wait. The two meet in Game 1 of the season in Denver as the Nuggets receive their rings, as if there needed to be any extra fuel to the first in this rivalry.
The Nuggets will come to Los Angeles for the other two meetings on the season, once on Feb. 8 and again on March 2. All three games will be televised, the former two on TNT and the latter on ABC.
The two sides figure to be two of the title contenders once again this season as well. Basically, everything is in place for some truly fantastic games this season.
Ideally, those meetings will feature a couple more wins than the playoffs did last year, too.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.