Darvin Ham Discusses How Lakers Can Be Better With Anthony Davis On Bench & Wenyen Gabriel’s Role In That
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers knew Game 5 wasn’t going to be easy and they were proven right as they couldn’t keep up with the Memphis Grizzlies on their home floor.

Ja Morant and Desmond Bane made sure their team wasn’t going to lose, getting downhill and hitting shots to keep the Lakers from getting close. Los Angeles did manage to get within one point in the middle of the third quarter, but Memphis instantly responded to essentially put the game away.

The Grizzlies were the hungrier and more energetic team, seemingly getting to the ball first on every trip down. Darvin Ham highlighted the rebounding and 50-50 balls as reasons for the Lakers’ loss while Anthony Davis was on the bench, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“We had some untimely possessions where we didn’t finish with a rebound and they were able to get one, maybe two offensive rebounds in that stretch. And a team like that, they thrive off those hustle plays. Getting those 50-50 balls, they got enough scoring output where you give them second and third chances at it they’re going to make you pay. So I just thought some of those unfortunate defensive possessions where we couldn’t finish with a rebound hurt us. But overall, our guys came out tonight to compete and again we just didn’t make enough shots and some untimely turnovers and some untimely lack of defensive rebounding.”

In order to mix things up, Ham also played Wenyen Gabriel, who looked good in spot minutes with Davis on the bench. Ham appreciated Gabriel’s usual energy and didn’t rule out going back to him again in Game 6:

“Absolutely. Wenyen, you throw him out there even if it’s in short spurts he’s always one that brings great energy to the game as he did when we threw him out there. We’ll go back to the drawing board, look at the film and see what we come up with. And again, the biggest part is to be ready to come out on Friday like gangbusters and compete for 48 minutes or however long it takes.”

Using Gabriel to match up better with Memphis’ size was a smart move, but the real adjustment needs to be to play Davis more. Davis already said he’s willing to play as many minutes as as he needs to in Game 6, so hopefully Ham rides his superstar in a pivotal game.

LeBron James vows to better in Game 6

Like Davis, LeBron James is going to do whatever it takes to lead the Lakers past the first round. After a poor Game 5 performance, James promised to be better in Game 6.

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