Michael Malone gives Lakers more bulletin board material with potential subtle jab

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets
San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Playoffs. The Lakers are hoping for a different outcome this year than in last year's Western Conference Finals as the team was swept by Denver in what was still a competitive series.

Not only are the Nuggets the defending NBA Champions, but they are winners of eight games in a row against the purple and gold. It is safe to say that Denver has had LA's number here recently and that is something that fans know all too well heading into this matchup.

The players and coaches on both sides also know this fact heading into this series but Nuggets head coach Michael Malone still wanted to remind the masses. Malone was respectful when asked about the Lakers prior to the first-round matchup, but it is still hard to look at his comments and not think that he was taking a subtle jab at LA when mentioning what has happened in recent matchups.

Any subtle jabs from Michael Malone will only give the Lakers more bulletin board material

In most cases it would be unfair to read between the lines this much with a comment that is mostly respectful about the Lakers. However, Malone has created a different situation for himself so it is completely justified to look at his comments through a microscope and dissect the deeper meaning.

This is the same guy who seemed more hyped about beating the Lakers than winning the NBA Championship; the same guy who was still bringing up LeBron James and the Lakers during the Nuggets' NBA Championship parade.

There is obviously something deeper there and Malone seems to enjoy taking it to the Lakers. To be fair, it is hard to blame him. Everyone in basketball media was picking against the Nuggets heading into last year's Western Conference Finals and Malone was still looking to get revenge for the 2020 Western Conference Finals.

Malone obviously has last year's sweep and this year's regular-season sweep fresh in his mind even though his star player is trying to turn the page and not even think about it. Nikola Jokic's comments about the Lakers from the very same day were much different than Malone's. It is not hard to see why.

Jokic is focused on this year's matchup, even calling last year's sweep the toughest series that the Nuggets had during their title run. Meanwhile, Malone seems to be taking a little bit more joy out of bringing up the fact that Denver has made quick work of Los Angeles in recent matchups.

It might not seem like much, but every small little tidbit like this is only going to motivate a hungry Lakers team even more. If the Lakers manage to pull off the upset, Malone will never hear the end of it from all of his previous comments, including this potentially subtle jab.