Stark contrast shows Darvin Ham blaming injuries for Lakers struggles while Erik Spoelstra refuses to use them as excuse

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham seemed to have a much different reaction to his team dealing with injuries than Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

Miami beat Los Angeles on the road without Jimmy Butler, Haywood Highsmith or Caleb Martin. Butler is obviously the biggest loss for the Heat, as he’s been arguably Miami’s best player since joining the franchise and helped lead the team to the NBA Finals last season.

The Lakers were down several key players on Wednesday as well, including guard Gabe Vincent, guard D’Angelo Russell and forward Rui Hachimura. Ham appeared to use the injuries as an excuse for why the team hasn’t been consistent as of late.

“We can’t find any consistency until we get healthy,” Ham said. “It’s as simple as that. We gotta get healthy. We gotta get healthy. Guys gotta — and once you get healthy — guys gotta get back in rhythm.”

Wednesday’s loss to Miami was the Lakers’ third straight defeat and their eighth in their last 10 games. Los Angeles is just 17-18 on the season and holds the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference.

The team has not had Vincent for most of the season, and Hachimura has been in and out of the lineup as well. The Lakers were able to win the NBA’s In-Season Tournament, but they have struggled since then.

When Spoelstra was asked about injuries, he had a much different reaction than Ham.

“I don’t care about that,” Spoelstra said when asked about injuries. “I don’t care about that.”

The Heat have been relying on players to step up all season long, as Butler, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo have all missed time. That’s allowed Miami to see what it has in terms of depth, and rookie Jaime Jaquez is one of the players that has become a key piece in the team’s rotation.

The rookie forward shot 7-for-14 from the field against the Lakers on Wednesday night – getting the start with Butler out. He ended up with 16 points, eight assists, one steal and one block in the game.

It was reported on Thursday that there is a “deepening disconnect” between Ham and the Lakers’ locker room. That’s not a good sign for the head coach, and it’s possible that his seat could get hotter if the Lakers don’t start to turn things around soon.

Los Angeles will look to snap its losing streak on Friday when it takes on the Memphis Grizzlies.

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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.