Darvin Ham Takes Responsibility For Loss To Pacers; Says Lakers Need To Learn How To Play With Lead
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers came close to winning their sixth game in the last seven matchups but allowed the Indiana Pacers to come back late and take a 116-115 win on Monday.

The Lakers squandered a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, allowing the Pacers to dominate the glass and shoot 6-for-12 (50%) from deep in the last 10 minutes of the game. Rookie Andrew Nembhard completed Indiana’s comeback, knocking down a buzzer-beater 3 to claim the game.

After the game, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham took responsibility for the loss. “I think us not taking advantage in terms of continuing to play downhill, continue to move the ball,” he said of what sparked the Pacers’ run in the fourth.

“It’s just one of those things, you get a lead like that, the free-throw line allows you to maintain your lead. And I wish we would have been a lot more aggressive, continue playing with pace and also continue to be organized and you know, move the ball. And that falls on me. That falls on me. I’ll take responsibility for that.

“And then also late in the game, you know, just given up defensive rebounds. It’s been something that I mean, offensive rebounds, I’m sorry. It’s been something that just plagued us the last couple of games. And Indiana has a really good team, a team with shooters everywhere and you can’t allow them to get second or third chances at open looks. Once they miss, a lot of long rebounds. You got to have active hands and feet to go corral them and bring them in, and again, you know me, I had to, you know, have to do a better job of keeping us organized. During those stretches, offensively.”

Ham said the Lakers need to improve at playing with the lead, adding they become impatient and unorganized when ahead of their opponents.

“Instead of coming up with the rebound, we end up knocking it out of bounds or you know, a possession where we’re trying to get into something you know, we go too quickly, or we shoot a shot early in the shot clock and those things add possessions to the game and allows a team that’s down to get back into the game when you increase possessions,” Ham said.

“We have control over early in the game, but that’s why the game was 48 minutes, and no lead is safe in this league. I’ve seen teams come down from 30, 35. But when we have control of something, we really got to get better.”

However, Ham said he’s confident the Lakers will be able to fix their issues.

“What is Game 19?” he asked rhetorically. “So as hard as this one is to swallow, we’ll be better for it going forward. For sure.”

Ham praises Russell Westbrook for professionalism amid trade rumors

Russell Westbrook registered another fine performance on Monday, ending up with 24 points, six assists, four rebounds, a block, and a steal against the Pacers. But even though the 2017 NBA MVP has played well since embracing the sixth-man role, his name keeps showing in trade rumors.

Ham commended Westbrook for his professionalism despite all the outside noise.

“I can tell you this. Russ is a true professional. He’s shown up to work, as well as all of our players, and those guys that handle it that way actually have the most success,” the Lakers head coach said.

“When you’re not wearing it on your sleeve, you’re not getting emotional about it and you’re just doing your job and doing what you need to do.”

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