Ham cites lack of Lakers' 'energy, effort and urgency' as they slump to defeat in Houston
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was not happy with the application of his team in their 114-110 defeat at the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
Going up against the team bottom of the Western Conference and on a run of four wins from their previous five, the Lakers had been hoping to give their playoff hunt another boost in Houston.
However, with a depleted side, they were unable to do so, allowing seven Rockets players to end the game with double figures at Toyota Center.
"We've talked about it and I've said it before games, after games, non-game days: energy, effort and urgency," Ham said after the loss. "And I thought coming out of the gates that kind of was non-existent.
"It's a product of us not being good on the ball. That individual pride it takes to keep the ball in front and guys behind you knowing that the paint is the priority. This team lives in the paint. The Houston Rockets live in the paint... And we preached that to them before the game."
The Lakers were without LeBron James (foot), Anthony Davis (foot) and Mo Bamba (ankle), with recent recruit from the Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura starting.
Ham was mostly critical of his defense, saying: "When you struggle defensively and you're playing against a set defense, the offense is going to struggle. You're not going to be able to be in a good rhythm."
He added: "I mean, it's the NBA. If you're not cut out for this, you're in the wrong business. I love it, personally. Would I rather have a sound and secure spot in the postseason? Yeah. Who wouldn't? But our circumstances are what they are."
The Lakers sit 10th in the Western Conference, just inside the play-in places on 34-36.
D'Angelo Russell, who scored 18 points with seven assists, pointed to the lack of star power available to them, recalling the days of Kobe Bryant.
"I mean, I'm not going to go against [the] coach. He obviously sees that as well. I agree," Russell said. "But when LeBron is playing, we're a different offensive team. When [Davis] is playing, we're a different offensive team. I compare it to with Kobe [Bryant].
"He was on his way out and he didn't practice a lot and we had a practice group in there at practice and ran the plays and did all that. But when Kobe would play, everything we practiced on kind of went down the drain. We kind of had to adjust. So, it's similar to that."