Darvin Ham: Lakers Are ‘Swinging For The Fences’ In Final 18 Games
Darvin Ham, Lakers
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers sit at 34-30, the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference, and are 3.5 games back of the Phoenix Suns for the No. 6 seed to avoid the Play-In Tournament. Head coach Darvin Ham and company have plenty of ground to make up to put themselves in a good position in the conference postseason picture, but only 18 regular season games remaining to make that happen.

And things are certainly not going to be easy for the Lakers in those 18 games. They face the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves twice and teams that are fighting for the same positioning as them like the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. Every game from here on out is going to be a battle as the Lakers attempt to lift themselves out of the very bottom spot in the Play-In Tournament.

Ham knows what’s standing in front of the Lakers and what they need to accomplish but believes they are capable of doing what needs to be done in the home stretch of the regular season.

“We want to be as good as we possibly can, hopefully,” Ham recently said. “We’re swinging for the fences, but if we land on a triple, we’ll be OK too as long as we secure our spot. But we’re constantly seeing ways that we can swing for the fences. Every game that’s in front of us, we’re trying to win. We’re not just saying OK, we can drop one here or drop two there. Every time we step into our lab, we get better, and fast forward to the game, we’re trying to be as successful as possible.”

Ham said this prior to the team’s frustrating loss to the Kings on Thursday night, meaning they are already not off to the best start on swinging for the fences. They have to face the Kings one more time, making that one of several must-wins in the final stages of the season.

L.A.’s next four games are against the Bucks, Timberwolves, Kings and Warriors. All four of these teams have better records than the Lakers and the three Western Conference teams all sit above them in the standings.

Darvin Ham diagnoses what went wrong for Lakers against Kings

The Lakers fell to the Kings 130-120, their sixth loss in the last seven games against their divisional foe. When trying to figure out where things went wrong, Ham pointed to the Lakers allowing their frustration with officiating to take over.

“I thought we got out to a great start, took advantage of some turnovers and missed shots by them. We were able to get out and run, defense was good early,” Ham said.

“Our starters did an unbelievable job of setting a good tone early. Then we kind of just had some bad fouls, some bad turnovers, they got a few easy opportunities in transition… We’ve been talking about having a next-play mentality, some things start going against us and just the frustration, I thought with the officiating.

“I’m not blaming the officiating, I thought we allowed that to bother us. And just some breakdowns we had. We had a good film and shootaround this morning, pregame tape on point trying to execute what we set out to do against these guys and early on it was good. But we talk about initiating, sustaining and finishing, the way we want to force our will on the game. And we obviously initiated it, but we didn’t sustain it and we damn sure didn’t finish it.”

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