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Rui Hachimura is waiting for the Los Angeles Lakers to win against the Denver Nuggets finally.

The Lakers have lost their last five playoff games and four regular-season games over the last two seasons to the Nuggets. Ahead of Game 2 of their 2024 matchup, Rui Hachimura spoke candidly about the matchup this year, seemingly taking shots at his own team’s preparation and inability to win a game.

Hachimura put up seven points on four attempts in the Game 1 loss, being one of the primary defenders on Nikola Jokic for the night. That went as well as expected, with Jokic dominating the contest and not being affected by Hachimura’s defense in the slightest.

Rui averaged 13.6 points and 4.3 rebounds this season. He has earned a bigger role in the Lakers rotations, but there isn’t any skill set he could deploy that would be a difference-maker either. We can look for umpteen reasons as to why the Lakers struggle against the Nuggets, but the simplest one is that they’re just not good enough

There is a sense of tactical panic in the Lakers’ locker room. The Lakers know that the Nuggets will punish subpar play by their players, but there aren’t any tactical geniuses in the locker room to help figure out what they need to do.

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has been under fire for most of the season and openly told the world that he has no clue how to scheme against Jokic.

To be fair, many coaches around the NBA don’t have a clue how to stop Jokic from impacting a game. If he isn’t scoring, he’s diming or grabbing boards, so to remove him from in-game action is not easy. It’s only specific defensive schemes with switchy and lanky defenders that could bother Jokic, as he’s strong enough to post up almost every player in the NBA.

According to Jovan Buha, Ham also said that he was saving adjustments against Jokic for later in the series to ensure the Serbian seven-footer couldn’t decode it early.

Jokic put up 32 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists in Game 1, and averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds. and 9.0 assists this season. He’s widely expected to pick up his third MVP trophy win in four seasons while being a prohibitive favorite to win Finals MVP if the Nuggets make it back to the Conference Finals.

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