Darvin Ham rejects Anthony Davis’ comments on Lakers’ struggles: ‘Agree to disagree’

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Darvin Ham rejects Anthony Davis’ comments on Lakers’ struggles: ‘Agree to disagree’

Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham knows that increased scrutiny is part of playoff basketball.

But when it was one of his own star players putting him in the spotlight Monday night, when the Lakers blew a 20-point lead at Denver to fall behind 2-0 in their first-round series and Anthony Davis told reporters that “We have stretches where we don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor” afterward, it was the kind of commentary that demanded a response. So Ham, the second-year coach who has been under fire all season long, shared his differing view at Lakers practice Wednesday.

“I mean, I just think sometimes the plays don’t turn out the way you think they should (and) the frustration sets in a little bit,” Ham told reporters. “But I don’t think this was (about) not being organized. I think I have incredible knowledge and focus all along my staff. We pride ourselves — whether it’s practice, shootarounds, film sessions, games, everything — we pride ourselves on being highly efficient and organized.

“So I just chalk that up to being frustrated. It’s an emotional game, with the way it ended and all of that. But I would agree to disagree on that one.”

The Game 2 ending was as dramatic as it gets, of course, with Davis failing to close on Jamal Murray in time in those closing seconds and the Nuggets star burying that midrange game-winner for the ages on the right side of the floor. Yet as Ham and Davis would surely agree, it was the damage that Denver did long before that play that simply must be mitigated in Game 3 in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

In each of the first two games, the Nuggets have dominated the second half in the kinds of ways that will inevitably fall at the coach’s feet. Denver has outscored the Lakers by a combined score of 114-83 in the second halves so far, with the Lakers shooting just 41 percent overall and 28.1 from 3-point range after halftime (they’re shooting 56 percent overall and 44.4 percent from 3-point range in the first halves).

Then again, these sorts of struggles are nothing new for the Lakers against these Nuggets. They have now lost 10 consecutive games against Denver, including the sweep in last season’s Western Conference Finals, with their last win coming on Dec. 16, 2022 (126-108 in Los Angeles).

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(Photo: Kirby Lee / USA Today)