Report: Lakers-Clippers duel on Sunday is ‘crucial’ for Darvin Ham

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read

The upcoming duel between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday is reportedly “crucial” for Lakers head coach Darvin Ham amid a rocky chapter of his L.A. tenure.

Ham is in his second season as the head coach of the storied Lakers franchise. In his first season as head coach, the 2022-23 season, he coached Los Angeles to a 43-39 record and an appearance in the Western Conference Finals.

The Lakers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in six games and Golden State Warriors in six games in the first two rounds of the playoffs before they were swept by the Denver Nuggets, who went on to win the 2023 NBA title.

This season, Los Angeles has now lost four games in a row after falling to the Grizzlies at home by 14 points on Friday.

Grizzlies guard Marcus Smart had it going from behind the 3-point arc against the Lakers, as he knocked down eight of his 14 shots from deep and finished with 29 points in 39 minutes of action. Memphis big man Jaren Jackson Jr. also had a big showing with 31 points.

After falling to the Grizzlies, the Lakers now own a 17-19 record on the season, which is just the 11th-best record in the Western Conference. They are only one game ahead of the Utah Jazz — who sit as the No. 12 seed with a 16-20 record — in the conference standings.

Ham and the Lakers won’t get another chance to snap their losing streak until they take on the Clippers on Sunday. The Clippers are one of the hottest teams in the entire league at the moment. After a forgettable start to the season, they have won eight of their last 10 games and are riding a five-game winning streak. The Lakers will look to end it.

Following their matchup against the Clippers, the Lakers will then host the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 9. The Raptors recently acquired RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley from the New York Knicks, giving them some new contributors that the Lakers will have to find ways to slow down.

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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.