West Notes: Nuggets, Aaron Gordon, Lakers, Darvin Ham, Kings


Forward Aaron Gordon said he is not revealing in the Lakers’ inability to beat them. Instead, he’s celebrating the Nuggets’ achievement. They own a 3-0 lead in their first-round NBA playoff series and have beaten Los Angeles 11 straight times.Aaron Gordon, Nuggets, NBA

“I gotta be honest with you,” Gordon told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “It’s never about the other team. It’s always about the guys in our locker room. It’s always about our group of guys. So we don’t really think about our opponents.”

Gordon added that his goal from the very moment he was acquired by the Nuggets (in a trade with the Magic) was winning — a lot.

“Quite frankly, my expectations were championships,” he said. “I thought this was a great fit when the trade happened. I think what everyone is seeing is that there isn’t a lot of overlap in our starting five. The first year I was here, we were making a run. But then (Jamal Murray) goes down. Next year (Michael Porter Jr.) goes down. Injuries are always a part of the game, but if you take the injuries out, I feel we would have already won a championship. It’s just so great playing with these guys. They are so damn talented and amazing to play with. At this point, it makes the game look easy.”

Meanwhile, All-Star Nikola Jokic added high praise for Gordon.

“What’s amazing is how much he accepted his role when he was traded to us,” Jokic said, via Amick. “He knows that every game is going to be different for him, and he is fine with it. He knows that there will be nights when he scores 10 points. He knows there will be nights like tonight where he gets a lot of touches and is amazing. But he does whatever our team needs, and our team would not be the same without him.”


The Lakers are averaging 102.3 points per game in their first-round series — after averaging 124.4 points in the 12 wins it had in its final 15 regular-season games plus the play-in tournament leading into the series, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I think Denver’s just beating us, to be honest,” guard Austin Reaves told NBA reporters. “You can talk about adjustments, you can talk about this and that, but at the end of the day, we got to go put our best foot forward in basketball games. You can talk about all the, everything else outside the talks of everything, but at the end of the day, you got to man up and go win games.”

  • Coach Darvin Ham is believed to been the hot seat after what appears to be another NBA playoff failure — deservedly so or not. “No Laker coach has ever come back from publicly questioning players, publicly angry fans and a publicly embarrassing postseason, so Ham is also at risk of being done,” wrote Bill Plaschke of the LA Times. “It seems hastily silly to fire a coach who led the Lakers to the Western Conference finals in his only other season here. But this is how the Buss ownership group has recently operated, showing great devotion to superstars while having little patience with head coaches.”
  • In case you missed it, guard D’Angelo Russell is expected to opt out of his contract at the end of the season. We have that full story here.


  • Guard Malik Monk recently discussed his looming NBA free agency, saying that the Kings wil undoubtely be in the mix, given his fit there. “I think it’s going to play out the right way,” Monk said.
  • Coach Mike Brown has yet to announce who will replace Jordi Fernandez as the Kings’ top assistant. Fernandez left to become head coach of the Nets.

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