The Los Angeles Lakers came out with great energy on both ends of the floor in the first half of their Christmas Day showdown with the Dallas Mavericks. Unfortunately, Darvin Ham’s squad was unable to keep that up for the entirety of the game.
After allowing just 43 points in the first half, Dallas exploded in the third quarter for 51 points as an 11-point Lakers lead at the half turned into a 19-point deficit going into the fourth. That awful quarter alone was enough to send the Lakers to their fourth consecutive loss as the team continues to struggle without Anthony Davis.
Afterward, Ham gave credit to the Mavericks for the adjustments they made but felt like the Lakers’ effort in that deciding third quarter was simply unacceptable, and not indicative of what the Lakers want to be moving forward, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We talked about before the game just being ready to initiate, sustain and finish with energy, effort and competitiveness and we left it in the locker room at half time. It’s a 48 minute game. You expect a team like Dallas, with the type of talent they have over there, the shooters, Luka, they’re a cohesive group and you knew that they were gonna dig in a little bit and try to make plays. They adjusted, didn’t run as much pick-and-roll with Luka and put him more on the post and at the end of the day we have to be locked in we have to stay locked in.
“But my hats off to them, they shot the ball well. The same shots they missed a lot in the first half, they made a lot in the second. But we just again, we have to know that, it’s a tale of two halves, but it’s a 48 minute game, it’s not a 24 minute game and we kind of took our foot off the pedal defensively, obviously. And giving up a 51-point third quarter is just unacceptable. It’s completely unacceptable and that’s not who we’re gonna be. That’s not who we are, that’s not who we’re gonna be.”
Even with LeBron James continuing to play at a high level, the Lakers’ margin for error is basically non-existent with Anthony Davis injured. \Ham is all about defense and the Lakers losing perhaps the best interior defensive player in the NBA makes it nearly impossible to hold teams in check.
To have any chance at doing so, the Lakers can not afford to become relaxed at any point in games, and so far the team has not proven to be able to do so. Turning things around will take an entire team effort for the Lakers and this season could spiral out of control very quickly if Ham can’t get them to lock in consistently on the defensive end.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham discusses strategy regarding timeout usage
In his first head coaching opportunity, Ham has the biggest microscope possible on him as head coach of the Lakers. Everything gets examined as Ham figures out the nuances of the job and something that seems minor, such as timeouts, can be huge in helping to swing the momentum of games.
Ham recently spoke about how he prefers to use his timeouts during games and when he feels it’s necessary or whether it’s better to let the team play through it. “Well, I look at the energy. And again, it’s a difference between just competitive mistakes and unforced errors,” the Lakers head coach said. “And I look toward the energy of my team or the players. And that usually dictates it.
“And if someone is just super duper hot, then yeah, we try to break the rhythm by calling a timeout. And trying to, you know, let the dead period cool someone off, but when it’s just like low energy and non-competitive and that’s when you know you need to take a pause and recalibrate.”
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