Lakers News: Darvin Ham Sees Positive Trends Despite 0-3 Start
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Darvin Ham’s first week in charge of the Los Angeles Lakers was far from ideal as L.A. started the 2022-23 season with three straight defeats.

The most painful loss came on Sunday when the Lakers gave up a late eight-point lead against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Purple and Gold had come back from a double-digit deficit themselves after a tough first half, only to allow Portland to end the game with a 16-6 run and claim the win in the end.

But Ham tried to focus on the positives following the loss, emphasizing L.A.’s response after halftime that got his team back in the game. “I mean, just say you know, if all those fails, one thing has to remain and that’s us being competitive, and us playing the right way on offense and just being competitive,” the Lakers head coach said.

“Totally. I mean, we had some loose shaky segments there in the first half, we were able to go in still, despite playing poorly, in my opinion. We were ready to go into halftime, make some adjustments, really just adjustments to our approach and our energy. Came out in the second half, great defensive third quarter.”

Ham added he believes the Lakers will eventually be able to keep the quality of their performance for the whole 48 minutes.

“I just told them it is disappointing to lose, but you know, I don’t feel depressed or anger because we competed and we have 79 more games left,” he said. “And I know this, I’m well aware of where I’m coaching. The magnitude of every game, people hang on every win and loss, but there’s gonna be a process. It’s gonna be a process, and we’ll get to a point where we’re finishing games.

“Tonight, we played well for a large portion of the game. With a 48-minute game, you just got to look at it on film and see what went right and see what went wrong and just move on. Deal with it, learn from it and get better.”

The Lakers showed some abysmal shooting again on Sunday, going 6-for-33 from downtown (18.2%). As L.A. kept missing, the Trail Blazers looked comfortable leaving them wide open beyond the arc — particularly in the case of Russell Westbrook, who found himself matched up with a center on defense in a second straight game.

Late in the game, Jusuf Nurkic sagged off Westbrook to clog the paint, contributing to the Purple and Gold’s poor offensive efficiency that helped the Blazers complete their comeback.

Ham wishes Westbrook attacked basket on crucial crunch-time possession

With under a minute left in the game, and with the Lakers up by one, Westbrook fired and missed a two-point jumper just six seconds into the possession — later explaining he wanted to go two-for-one with L.A. having the ball on the last play of the matchup. However, the Blazers followed the guard’s miss with two buckets for five points to claim the victory.

Ham said he didn’t have a problem with Westbrook opting to go for a two-for-one situation. However, the head coach thought the guard should have attacked the basket instead of settling for a jump shot.

“Absolutely, I wish, I just wish he would’ve attacked the rim directly. That’s the one shot that teams want you to take and want to give up. Long twos, contested twos, what have you and his ability to explode and get to the basket still being at a high level, I wish he would’ve done that, especially with [Jusuf] Nurkic standing there with five fouls.”

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