Darvin Ham accepted responsibility for the Los Angeles Lakers blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter of the team’s 116-115 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
“That falls on me,” Ham told reporters when discussing his team’s lack of offensive organization. “That falls on me. I’ll take responsibility for that.”
Anthony Davis came to his coach’s defense, saying the players needed to step up as the lead started slipping away.
“It’s not just on him,” Davis said. “It’s on us too. I mean, we got enough years in the league for the guys that were on the floor late game to execute. Obviously, he’s a coach, you take the blame. But it’s on us players to go out there and execute.”
The Lakers’ offense became stagnant in the fourth quarter, often leaning heavily on Russell Westbrook with LeBron James hobbled by an ankle injury suffered in the opening period.
Westbrook led the squad with eight points in the fourth, but the rest of L.A.’s roster combined to make just five of their 16 shots (31.3 percent) in the final 12 minutes.
“We can’t be in situations where we’re throwing [Westbrook] the ball and everyone is standing and we’re dribbling out the clock, dribbling out the clock,” Ham said. “Now we’re waiting on someone to go one-on-one versus the world. That’s tough. That’s a huge responsibility to have to score in those situations.”
The loss dropped the Lakers to 7-12 and likely brought a halt to any momentum built up by winning five of their previous six games.
Every L.A. defeat leads to a renewed round of questions about how the team’s front office is going to react to the sluggish start to the campaign.
General manager Rob Pelinka and Co. have so far resisted calls to make a significant roster-altering move, but each passing game further solidifies the fact the Lakers need another offensive threat capable of supporting James and Davis.
Los Angeles ranks last in three-pointers made per game (9.6) and 28th in three-point shooting percentage (32.0), numbers that make it tough to win in the modern NBA.
Being able to spread out defenses would not only provide more support for LeBron and AD, but it would also give more space for them to operate in half-court sets.
Yet there’s been no sense the Lakers are aggressively working behind the scenes to get deals done. Instead, they may wait until closer to February’s trade deadline before deciding how to move forward for the rest of the season.
For a team desperately seeking a spark, however, waiting a couple months doesn’t seem like the best course of action if L.A. wants to turn things around in a significant way.
The Lakers are back in action Wednesday night when they host the Portland Trail Blazers.
Most Exciting Shot For L.A. Fans Happened During A Timeout
With $75,000 on the line, lucky fan Jamie Murray rubbed his hands, took a deep breath and grabbed a basketball.
“I was like I got one chance,” said Murray.
Given an opportunity of a lifetime, Murray reminisced about his Laker fandom. Since his first day on Earth, his mother Sandra raised him to cheer for L.A.’s finest, dressing him up in a purple and gold jersey for his newborn photo. His love for basketball grew throughout the years.
“I went to a little camp at Apollo Park, not too far from my house,” he said. “I would just play in the games, play pick up when I got older and now I play at the gym.”
From balling at Apollo Park to standing on the same court that his favorite team ran up and down, night in and night out, the 24-year-old Amazon delivery driver had his opportunity to capture a magical moment — all during his first Laker game in 18 years.
“We were scanning the tickets and a lady approaches us, and she’s like ‘You guys want to enter for a chance to win some money,'” recalled Murray. “I was like ‘Is there a catch?'”
There was no catch. Just one shot from 47 feet out.
“I kind of wanted to load it up from about the right side, and let it off in the middle,” he said. “You know, aim it correctly. That was my technique.”
With his technique in mind, Murray lofted up the shot. It clearly banked off the backboard and through the basket.
“I had my little fangirl moment,” Murray said. “I was just so excited to hug [Davis,] see everybody. “It was just a crazy experience.”
With a fresh $75,000 in his pocket, Murray said he’d share it with his family, especially the woman that fostered his love for basketball and the Lakers.
“My mom, she comes first always, so you know, some to her,” he said. “Christmas is coming up, so anybody in my family who wants some presents. And the rest, I have to save it. I had to play it smart with this.
Murray is only the 12th person to ever make the half-court shot on the first try, making him a Lakers legend in his own right.
“Being able to touch the same floor that Kobe played on, Shaq played on, just all these legends played on,” he said. “It was just a blessing.”
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