Lakers News: Darvin Ham Explains Decision To Leave LeBron James & Anthony Davis In Game 5 Blowout Loss To Grizzlies
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to close out the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 5, instead getting blown out 116-99 at FedEx Forum.

With their backs against the wall, the Grizzlies were the more aggressive and hungrier team. Memphis did everything they could to put pressure on Los Angeles defensively and their outside shooting is what propelled them to a win.

Even though the game was largely decided, Darvin Ham opted to leave most of his regulars, including LeBron James and Anthony Davis, in during the fourth quarter. Ham explained that he and the team felt they could’ve made one last run to try and steal a victory, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“It’s tough, man, because when you’re competitive it’s like you feel like in today’s basketball the 3-point shot it can be the great equalizer. You can chew up a deficit really, really quickly. We gave up, I think, it was a 14-1 run to them to end the first half last game in Game 4 so it just shows you…and that was in a span of maybe a couple of minutes maybe. Two, three minutes?

“It’s the great conundrum. Do you compete harder and hopefully see some shots go in, get to the free-throw line, get the scoreboard moving? Or do you take that time as you just said and try to soak up some minutes with those guys getting iced on the sideline or whatever? But it’s playoff basketball, man, everyone’s in a competitive mode and we decided to leave our guys out there.”

James looked particularly winded after carrying the Lakers to an overtime win in Game 4 just two days ago, so Ham pulled him a littler earlier than the other starters. Ham said that he and James agreed at the 4:40 mark that it made sense to pull him then:

“Just to start, he and I made eye contact and we had a non-verbal discussion and it was time. We gonna need him big on Friday, so it was time. Simple as that.”

While the Game 5 loss will sting, the purple and gold will have another chance to end the series when they head back home for Game 6. The Lakers need to play with the intensity and urgency of a Game 7 as they can’t afford to risk things by allowing the Grizzlies another game on their home floor.

James and Davis will have to lead the way, so hopefully they are able to get enough rest between now and Friday to be ready to go.

LeBron James explains how he fights through exhaustion late in games

James looked gassed in Game 5 as he shot poorly and had trouble turning the ball over. However, he’s earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to playing tired and he explained how he’s been able to do so all these years.

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