Darvin Ham Takes Blame for Lakers’ Buzzer-Beater Loss to Pacers

After building a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Lakers suddenly became the team that couldn’t shoot straight. Darvin Ham LeBron James

So when Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard buried a 3-pointer at the final buzzer, lifting his team to a remarkable 116-115 road win, Lakers coach Darvin Ham took the blame.

“That falls on me,” Ham said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “That falls on me. I’ll take responsibility for that.”

Ham was talking about the Lakers’ 8-of-22 shooting in the fourth. Interestingly, Lakers star LeBron James also went 8-of-22 for the game, including 2-of-8 in the fourth. But in James’ defense, one of those makes was a running floater that gave the Lakers a 115-113 lead with time winding down.

Ham didn’t blame James, either.

“Those are looks he normally makes, so the ball just didn’t happen to go in tonight,” Ham said. “I’m totally comfortable with him shooting those shots.”

James mostly credited the Pacers while also seemingly citing Murphy’s Law — what could go wrong, did go wrong.

“Everything has to go wrong in order for you to lose a game like that, and everything went wrong,” James said. “And you got to tip your hat to Indiana. They kept fighting. They kept pushing.”

The Pacers (12-8) truly have been one the NBA’s early-season surprises — riding the likes of young guards Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin, as well as center Myles Turner and shooting guard Buddy Hield, to relevancy. Interestingly, Hield and Turner have been Lakers’ trade targets.

But it was Nembhard who saved the day after Turner missed a three at the top of the arc. Haliburton reeled in a long, fairly chaotic rebound to find Nembhard standing alone for another final attempt. It swished.

“NBA players, they make shots like that,” James said. “So give him credit.”

The Lakers (7-12) embark on their first swing through the East later this week, tipping off Friday against the Bucks. So things aren’t about to get much easier for a team that is clearly lacking — in perhaps both depth and chemistry.

But power forward Anthony Davis said not everything is on Ham. After all, it wasn’t Ham who missed all those shots in the final 12 minutes.

“It’s not just on him. It’s on us too,” Davis said, via McMenamin. “I mean, we got enough years in the league for the guys that were on the floor late game to execute. Obviously, he’s a coach, you take the blame. But it’s on us players to go out there and execute.”

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