The Los Angeles Lakers were the last team in the NBA to get a win this season, but they finally did it, taking down the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night. The win was the first in the head coaching career of Darvin Ham, who is getting his first opportunity with the Lakers.
The win was great to see for the Lakers who had come close to victory on multiple occasions but continually fell short in some way. On this night, the shots finally fell and Ham got big contributions from LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
After the contest, Ham spoke about what he believed changed in order for the Lakers to get into the win column.
“I just think guys got tired of going through the same motions for the last five games where we’ll be highly competitive and some kind of way fumble the ball and end up on the wrong side of the game, getting L’s,” Ham said after the contest. “So I just saw a different type of focus. Guys really just digging in, coming together and that’s a part of it. It’s a part of the process, you have to go through that bad in order to understand why tonight feels so great.”
It has undoubtedly been a process for the Lakers but the team’s effort and fight never waned despite the losses piling up which is a credit to Ham. The team’s defense has been very good for the most part and Sunday, some shots finally fell for them.
But when a team keeps losing, it tests their resilience and the Lakers proved that they could hang with one of the better teams in the Western Conference.
“My hats off to Denver, they’re a hell of a ballclub, they should be held in high regard, absolutely,” Ham added. “But tonight we needed to prove something to ourselves. Not to the world, not to the media. We had to prove it to ourselves and I feel great about how we responded throughout the game. We’d have these little lulls but guys would come back and we’d make a play, we’d get a big stop, get a big rebound. Guys just kept fighting all 48 minutes even though at times things didn’t go our way. They just stayed resilient.”
The Lakers trailed by eight points with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter but would end it on an 18-2 run to go into the fourth with the lead. And every time Denver made a run to cut the lead down in the fourth, the Lakers would respond with a big bucket and a stop.
While it is just one win, that had to be a big weight lifted off their shoulders and also serve as proof that what they are doing is working. Now the Lakers must string some wins together to keep this momentum going.
Ham relishes first win as an NBA head coach
For as great as it was for the players, it was truly a milestone moment for Ham getting that first head coaching win and he spoke about what the feeling was after the game.
“It’s great,” Ham said. “It’s ironic, having started here as a coach and also having started in Denver as a player, that’s where I spent the majority of my rookie season, and all the way back to my parents, everybody.
“To come from where I come from and to be sitting on that sideline, I like to go out pregame and sit on the sideline to just smell the popcorn, see all the people, the buzz that’s in the building. This is a phenomenal building, our fans were awesome tonight. They’re always awesome. Lakers Nation is strong. So I just really wanted to give them something to really be loud and proud about.”
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