Darvin Ham’s Lakers put together to be ‘finest model of ourselves’

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham opened up his group’s closing stretch of the season after the All-Star break by stating Los Angeles’ aim loud and clear: The Lakers do not wish to simply make the playoffs, they wish to keep away from the play-in match.

“The goal is for us to come out and try to be the best version of ourselves each game, but definitely, if we can go and secure a spot, that is our goal right there,” Ham stated. “If we fall into a play-in situation, so be it. But our No. 1 goal is to go secure a spot, not just throw games off here or there [and] just wish for a play-in. We want to go secure a spot.”

The Lakers, 27-32, are at the moment thirteenth within the Western Conference — 2.0 video games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the tenth seed and 3½ video games behind the Dallas Mavericks for No. 6.

If the final time the Lakers took the courtroom is any indicator of what is in retailer for the remainder of the season, they need to be in fine condition. In its final sport earlier than the break, L.A. managed the New Orleans Pelicans from the opening tip and received 120-102, excelling on each ends.

Still, time is just not on the Lakers’ facet, and it is a main aspiration for a group that was fully overhauled main as much as the commerce deadline. They’re nonetheless so new that they’ve but to have a full follow with each participant accessible to take part, as LeBron James was given Wednesday off after reporting to Salt Lake City over the weekend because the franchise’s lone All-Star consultant apart from two-way participant Scotty Pippen Jr., who performed within the Rising Stars sport.

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There are 23 video games remaining within the schedule, which James already known as 23 of the “most important games” of his profession, however L.A.’s hopes of securing the No. 6 seed might be decided by how the Lakers fare within the first seven video games after the break.

They host the No. 9 Golden State Warriors on Thursday, adopted by a three-game street journey towards Dallas (No. 6), the Memphis Grizzlies (No. 2) and Oklahoma (No. 10). Their subsequent three dwelling video games after which might be towards the Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 8), Golden State and Memphis.

They’re all video games that basically depend as double, as L.A. can achieve a win and hand a loss to a group forward of it within the standings in every case. But shedding any of them will likely be that rather more pricey, too.

“I mean we have to help ourselves first and foremost, and we only do that by winning games,” Ham stated. “We’ve already put ourselves behind the eight ball enough, we don’t want to get into a further situation where we’re depending on teams in front of us to lose games and all the while we’re dropping games. So winning is the focus. And it’s the only way we can help ourselves and take care of what we can control.”

D’Angelo Russell — who will stay within the beginning lineup together with Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley to enrich James and Anthony Davis, in response to Ham — thinks the Lakers have an attainable aim.

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“I think it’s possible, simple as that,” Russell stated. “I think anything can happen when you got Bron and AD on the court and the supporting cast that we have. I think everybody has a chip on their shoulder. I mean, one game at a time is the mentality for us.”

But each a type of video games, Davis stated, the Lakers merely must have.

“I think each game is a must-win game for us, given the situation that we’re in,” Davis stated. “So they’re all pretty important, and we got to treat each game that way. Look at it as a Game 7 game. If we go out and compete on both ends of the floor and do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll give ourselves a pretty good chance.”