The Los Angeles Lakers got off to a strong start against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night and maintained their lead through the first half. But the second half was a completely different story for head coach Darvin Ham’s team as things went off the rails and the Lakers fell in embarrassing fashion at home to the Nets.
Early on, the Lakers played with a lot of energy and shared the ball extremely well. But it was the opposite after halftime. Brooklyn got on a roll offensively and the Lakers had no answers as things got increasingly out of hand.
While Ham thought his team played how they wanted to early on, he felt the Lakers crumbled once the Nets made their run.
“Just felt like, obviously, Cam Thomas, salute to him, came off blazing hot. But we continue to compete. We had some great numbers at halftime. Great clips, great activity,” Ham said. “NBA teams are gonna score, but I thought, for the most part, our effort, our pace, us sharing the ball. We had 20 assists at halftime on 26 field goals, it was all clicking. They started to make a run, and we just kind of fell apart. Got disappointed. Some calls thought we should have gotten, didn’t go our way. They made some shots, we slowed it down, started holding the ball, becoming indecisive. And the result was what it was. Talk about the tale of two different halves. That first half is what we’re working toward, to your point. Coming out of those last two games, those last two wins.
“And then the inconsistency showed up and reared its head into the second half. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves and make excuses. We saw the same people that put together that first half, same ones that allowed that second half and just have to decide which team we’re going to be. We see how dominant we can be when we’ve done it right. And we’re healthy. And we’ve seen when we haven’t done it so right. And when you’re dealing with different body issues, health issues, but at the end of the day, you suit up, you got to come out there and compete and compete as a unit. And that second half wasn’t reflective of that.”
Defensive breakdowns, lack of movement and sloppy offensive execution, missed open shots, it was all there for the Lakers in the second half and they were never able to stop the bleeding.
Had it not been for a huge first half from Nets guard Cam Thomas, the Lakers would have been ahead comfortably at halftime. But it felt like they took their foot off the gas in the second half, committing miscues on both sides of the ball.
While Ham knows the Lakers can use every excuse in the book for this performance, he doesn’t want them to have that mindset.
“Yeah, it’s tough, man,” Ham started. “You’re managing bodies that have injuries or some hurt spots and some sore spots. So it makes it a damn near impossible to have a practice. It definitely affects your shootarounds. You’re trying to collaborate with the medical team and the performance staff and try to see what’s best. You can’t get emotional about it. You could be passionate but passionate with intelligence. In terms of not just doing something to do something, and just because you’re mad and upset, you still have to be smart. Because that anger, the proving a point, in a practice can spill over into two or three games. But at the end of the day, we tried to be as efficient as possible, watch a ton of film, we’ll definitely do that. Watch this game and make it more about our principles. And again, the type of team we want to be. It’s over for the excuses, man. We got to play basketball.”
The Lakers have shown they can hang with some of the best teams in the league, so a disappointing performance against a non-playoff team like the Nets hurts that much more. Time is not on the Lakers side and Ham and the rest of the team know they have got to play basketball the way it is meant to be played.
Darvin Ham believes Lakers have enough internally to turn season around
The attention continues to be on what move the Lakers can make at the trade deadline to help get the season back on track. But Ham continues to believe that the Lakers, as currently constructed, have enough to right the ship.
“People talking about trades and this and that,” Ham said recently. “And you know, no one’s sugarcoating anything. You have opportunity, an opportunity to get better, you’re going to take advantage of it. But that said, what we have in a locker room, we just need to buckle down and focus and take care of the details. We have more than enough in that locker room to make some things happen.”
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