Rival NBA coach passionately defends Darvin Ham from blame he’s receiving: ‘It’s definitely unfair’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue came to the defense of Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham about the blame the Lakers head coach has received for the team’s struggles this season.

Lue made his comments before the Lakers took on the Clippers on Sunday.

“It’s definitely unfair,” Lue said. “… We said the same thing last season when they were 2-10. And they went to the conference finals. Are you giving the coach all the credit for that? I don’t think so.”

The Lakers snapped a four-game losing streak on Sunday night, defeating Lue’s Clippers 106-103 at Crypto.com Arena.

It was a massive win for the Lakers – and for Ham – as it was reportedly a “crucial” game for the Lakers head coach.

Ham had a lot of praise for the Clippers after the Lakers’ win on Sunday.

“Man, they are a championship ball club as far as I’m seeing, playing very high-level basketball,” Ham said of the Clippers. “Multiple threats all over the place. So, yeah, that’s a huge, huge win. Great win to get off the slide.”

Still, the Lakers have struggled since winning the NBA’s In-Season Tournament, going just 4-10 over 14 games since their win over the Indiana Pacers in the championship game.

That has dropped the Lakers to the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference, although the Lakers are just five games back of the Clippers, who currently hold the No. 4 seed.

The Clippers went through a rough start this season, and they even struggled when they added James Harden to the roster, losing the first five games he played in. But since then, Lue’s club has turned things around, and it now has a 19-11 record in games that Harden has played in. The team is 22-13 overall.

Last season, the Lakers put themselves in a hole early in the Western Conference with a bad start, but some moves around the trade deadline improved the roster, and the team ended up earning the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

Ham guided the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals, knocking off the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors in the process.

While there have been eyebrows raised at some decisions Ham has made this season, the Lakers are entirely alive for a playoff spot.

Lue, who coached LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers and won a title with the team in the 2015-16 season, certainly knows the expectations that come with coaching a team that features one of the greatest players in league history.

Perhaps Lue’s comments will alleviate some of the pressure on Ham as the Lakers look to get back into contention for a top spot in the West this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.