Former Lakers champ defends Darvin Ham as L.A.’s season goes on life support

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Former Los Angeles Lakers guard and teammate of LeBron James in J.R. Smith came to the defense of Lakers head coach Darvin Ham on X in response to a post from CBS Sports’ Ashley Nicole Moss suggesting that Los Angeles shouldn’t keep him as its head coach.

Ham and the Lakers are now in a 0-3 series hole in their first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets after losing Game 3 by seven points on Thursday night.

A balanced collective scoring effort helped guide the Nuggets to their third consecutive win over the Lakers in these playoffs. Four Nuggets — Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. — scored 20 points or more.

Gordon spearheaded Denver from a scoring standpoint, as he dropped a team-high 29 points to go along with 15 rebounds, three assists and one steal while shooting 12-of-18 from the field.

Conversely, Anthony Davis led the Lakers in scoring with 33 points on 23 shot attempts from the floor.

Ham now owns a playoff record of 0-7 against the Nuggets since taking over the Lakers’ head coaching reigns. After all, before getting into a seemingly insurmountable hole in the opening round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, his Lakers were swept by Denver in the 2023 Western Conference Finals.

In the playoffs, NBA teams are 0-151 in series when facing an 0-3 deficit. However, the Boston Celtics nearly made history after going down 0-3 against the Miami Heat in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics won Games 4, 5 and 6 of the series before dropping the deciding Game 7 at home by a final score of 103-84.

The Lakers will fight to keep their season alive when Game 4 takes place at Arena on Saturday. If Los Angeles loses Game 4, that would mark the second season in a row where the Lakers have been eliminated by the Nuggets in the playoffs in troubling fashion.

But if the Lakers were to earn a win in Game 4 to avoid a sweep, Game 5 would take place on Monday night at Ball Arena.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.