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Lakers Give Darvin Ham the Boot

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Darvin Ham. Courtesy Los Angeles Lakers

After second straight NBA playoff elimination by the Denver Nuggets

LOS ANGELESWith two years remaining on a four-year, $20 million contract, the Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Darvin Ham on Friday after an up-and-down stint where the coach amassed a modest 90-74 record.

 

The boot didn't come as a surprise.

Ham, whose won-loss percentage was .549 during the regular season, and .429 (9-12 ) in the postseason which does not include his two play-in tournament winssince being hired to replace Frank Vogel in 2022, guided the Lakers to the inaugural in-season tournament title in Las Vegas in December. 

 

The decision to oust him came just days after the Lakers were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets for a second straight season, this time in five games in the first round after being swept by Denver in the conference finals a year ago.

The Lakers have not been able to find the right player-coach match for several seasons now, and again find themselves in the hunt for a head coach to lead the storied franchise back to championship contention.

"We greatly appreciate Darvin Ham's efforts on behalf of the Lakers and recognize the many accomplishments achieved over the past two seasons including last year's remarkable run to the Western Conference finals," Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement.

 

"We all want to thank Darvin for this dedication and positivity. While this was a difficult decision to make, it is the best course of action following a full review of the season. The organization will remain unwavering in its com- mitment to deliver championship-caliber basketball to Lakers fans around the world."

 

The Lakers only managed to earn the No. 7 seed in a crowded Western Conference field, setting up the showdown with the No. 2-seeded Nuggets. The Lakers failed to protect a double-digit lead in all four of their losses in the series, including a 20-point second-half lead in Game 2.

"It's been a hell of a two years ... I'll tell you that," Ham said Monday after L.A. was eliminated. "Sitting in this seat, it's been a hell of a two years. A lot of good things that got done, but ultimately, you want to win that ultimate prize."

Ham inherited a Lakers team coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in the history of the franchise, when it went 33-49 in 2021-22 and failed to qualify for the postseason after it traded several role players for Russell Westbrook, who were vital to LA's 2020 title.

LA started off 2-10 in Ham's first season, and the roster was completely overhauled in a series of moves leading up to the trade deadline. The team parted ways with Westbrook and retooled with D'Angelo RussellJarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura to complement holdovers James, Davis and Austin Reaves.

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The OKC Thunder may have the best record in the Western Conference, but the Lakers are giving them fits this season.

OKC feels Lakers' thunder

It’s clear after Saturday that the Los Angeles Lakers simply cannot beat the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets. But on Monday evening, the basketball world got a reminder that they can defeat just about any other team on any given night.

They faced the Oklahoma City Thunder, who came in with the Western Conference’s best record and with a top-four ranking in both offensive and defensive rating. It was another contest in a very rough stretch for the Purple and Gold that will continue to see them playing teams with better records than them almost exclusively until the final week of March.

The Lakers started off slowly, trailing 22-11 after committing six turnovers in the first six minutes of the first quarter. But their bench sparked a rally that tied the score at 25 at the end of the period, and that momentum continued in the second quarter. They led by as many as 10 points in the first half and were up 52-43 at halftime, as they held one of the NBA’s most efficient offenses to just 30.6% shooting.

Los Angeles extended that advantage to 89-72 after three quarters and cruised to a seemingly easy 116-104 victory. The victory improved its record to 34-29 and pushed it into ninth place in the Western Conference, and it is just two games behind the sixth-place Phoenix Suns.

While the Lakers were efficient to the tune of 51.2% overall field-goal shooting and 47.1% from 3-point range, they had trouble holding onto the basketball until the third quarter, when they finally started to limit their turnovers. But they did have a massive 55-38 advantage in rebounding and a 22-15 edge in second-chance points, which has rarely happened this season.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Lakers’ performance on Monday was their defense, another department in which they have struggled. They allowed Oklahoma to shoot just 39.4% from the field, and combined with their prowess on the boards, it’s a winning combination they need to replicate on a consistent basis.

Davis only scored in single digits in the first half, but he started to look like his usual self in the third quarter. He scored 15 points in the period, partly because he got to the free throw line often. He didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter, but he still finished with 24 points on 7-of-12 from the field and 10-of-11 from the foul line, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots in 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Chet Holmgren, the Thunder’s Rookie of the Year candidate, scored just 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 2-of-6 from 3-point range. He came into this contest averaging 17.8 points a game while shooting 54.4% overall and 39.7% from downtown

Unveiling soon ... the 'Dome' that Steve built

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An artist’s rendering shows an aerial view of the Clippers’ news arena, The Intuit Dome, at night.

What are LA Clippers fans saying about Steve Ballmer's $1.8 billion Intuit Dome

Metropolis News Service

INGLEWOODClippers fans never thought the time would really come when they'd see the official unveiling of the home team's Intuit Dome.
 
But the grand opening will happen going into the team's 2024-25 season. That means this year.

The team, which appears to have hit its stride with Kwi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook.
 
Clippers Nation's Expression of Glee

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Clippers are no joke. Balmer has proven he’s all in. Can’t wait for this season to get started. Arena is top notc

zyrhonegapor

Congrats Clippers, The new arena looks dope.

therecanbeonlyone

History of this franchise begins now. Congrats Clippers fans.

alessandravasconcellos

This is my third time today watching this video. I'm pumped for the new stadium. GO CLIPPERS

terencegros

The Los Angeles Clippers finally have a new home, the Intuit Dome, and it is in this room that the Clippers will write the most beautiful pages of their history with an NBA championship. In any case, the Los Angeles Clippers have entered a new era with a Steve Ballmer who wants this team to win an NBA title.

keithwillis

Ok I am a Warriors fan, but I am drooling at this Dome. Definitely will buy a ticket to see a game here when I visit my SoCAL family which one or two are Clipper fans. A billionaire owner that's got it like that makes a difference.

angelgabriel

I'm definitely going to attend the very first game!! LETS GO CLIPPER NATION!

selgman505

Goosebumps can't wait

MrReece9

Great fantastic for LA Clippers... Intuit Dome! More Power... Tremendous Idea!

thekingofafrica7771

I love it. Let’s Go Clippers ️

drumbum

Dang, why do PG voiceovers hit so hard? Kinda got me hyped

thekingofafrica

Let’s go my Clippers ️

FunGuyKawhi

Looking good - hopefully I'll still be there once its completed

sergiomartinez

Let's go Clippers, we got this, this is what we need it.

fojemo

PG could be a good voice over actor.

JF238xInspireGreatness

Hopefully Kawhi and PG can help the Clippers win an NBA championship

HV-nb3sf

Hypeeed .. Our new home is here ️

Becauseimme

I might cry walking in there for the first time. From the Sports Arena to the Lakers Crypto Arena into a home we can finally have as ours. I’m glad Steve Ballmer didn’t move them to Seattle.

user-fo8ch2pj1c

Let's go Clippers!️

OSan-vj5gy

Home is Palmdale, home is LA. Let’s go clippers!!

artemisfox31bluey

Amazing! Best owner in sports continues to transform this organization

elsarcristobal

LETS GO CLIPS

maryellenmarra

Great video! Love the energy!

lalo

Can't wait to go! Let's go clips

aurelgjuraj

Our legacy starts here!

user-k96.

Can't wait to go one day!

shadnallachavez

Congrats LA Clippers on the new arena, the Intuit Dome

youalreadyknow

Home is LA! LETS GET THIS CHIP

rasheawhite

They deserved their own arena. The LA Clippers are a good team!

turlino

From Italy... Next station! Let's go Clippers!

LouieTzepher

Got damn, now I will have to get a condo in LA in order to travel back and from from NYC if i want to see these games. You are hurting my pockets Clippers.

marlonmorataya

Lets get Intuit

raphaelvillard

Congratulations to the Clippers 

simpleGrind

They just couldn't stand seeing those LAKERS championship banners, every time they played their home game

christoph

Steve Ballmer is the chosen one

arthurau

I find it highly unfair that places like NY and LA have two teams, meaning they have two chances to win the NBA Championship, whereas everywhere else they only have one team and only have one chance to win an NBA Championship every season. I could only imagine living in a city where I only have one team to cheer for how much better it would be if every city in the NBA had two teams like NY and LA have to even the odds of winning the championship.

Native

)

Go clippers!

camerontaylor

Yessir let's get it once we in there its lit

chrisgrissom

I'm from Detroit and I will be there when it opens. Go Clips

HTPJay

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Anthony Davis. Screenshot

Lakers sputter to Nuggets in opener, 119-107

Anthony Davis inexplicably erratic; 17 pts. first half, 0 pts. second half

Charles Barkley was not impressed with Anthony Davis' performance in the Lakers' loss to the Nuggets on Tuesday night. 

Davis scored 17 points in the first half of Tuesday night's season opener. That put him on pace for 34 in the game. His final scoring output? 17 points. That's right. Davis didn't score a single point in the second half of the Lakers' 119-107 loss to Denver. 

Barkley criticized Davis after the game for

failing to live up to expectations, a recurring criticism for much of Davis' Lakers career.

“I said when he was in New Orleans [that] this guy is going to be the best basketball player in the world in the next five years. He’s not even mentioned anymore when you talk about the best players in the game,” Barkley said. 

 

“LeBron has said it publicly: It’s (Davis’s) team now. And you wonder when the light is going to kick on because he [doesn’t] have to play great every night, but you can’t go a whole half and not score.”

 

That's a fair analysis from Barkley. Davis hasn't been the reliable No. 1 star the Lakers have needed him to be on a consistent basis. 

Imagine being LeBron James. At 38 years old, James can't be solely responsible for carrying the Lakers on a nightly basis. He brought Davis to Los Angeles to eventually take over the Lakers as their biggest star. 

ZINGED AGAIN

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Ja Morant. Courtesy Memphis Grizzlies

NBA suspends Ja Morant 25 games with conditions for reinstatement

NEW YORK (MNS)—The NBA announced June 16 that Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has been suspended 25 games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league.

Morant posed with a firearm in a car during a live-streamed video on May 13, less than two months after he was suspended eight games without pay for the live streaming of a video on March 4 in which he displayed a firearm while in an intoxicated state at a Denver area nightclub.

The league office found that, on May 13, Morant intentionally and prominently displayed a gun while in a car with several other individuals as they were leaving a social gathering in Memphis. Morant wielded the firearm while knowing that he was being recorded and that the recording was being live streamed on Instagram Live, despite having made commitments to the NBA and statements that he would not repeat the conduct for which he was previously suspended. On May 16, Morant issued a statement taking full accountability for his actions.

Morant’s suspension begins immediately and will remain in effect through the first 25 games of the 2023-24 NBA regular season for which he is otherwise eligible and able to play. He will also be required to meet certain conditions before he returns to play and will be ineligible to participate in any public league or team activities, including preseason games, during the course of his suspension.

"Ja Morant’s decision to once again wield a firearm on social media is alarming and disconcerting given his similar conduct in March for which he was already suspended eight games," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "The potential for other young people to emulate Ja’s conduct is particularly concerning. Under these circumstances, we believe a suspension of 25 games is appropriate and makes clear that engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior with guns will not be tolerated.

"For Ja, basketball needs to take a back seat at this time. Prior to his return to play, he will be required to formulate and fulfill a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior."

WHAT'S WRONG WITH JA MORANT?

For the second time in less than three months, two- time Memphis Grizzlies All-star guard Ja Morant has been suspended for illegal gun possession. Morant was seen on Instagram holding what appeared to be a weapon.

 

The first time Morant committed the infraction led to an eight-game NBA suspension handed down in March and cost him about $669,000 in salary.

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There is something apparently wrong with Ja Morant. He fears for his life or he's trying hard to cultivate a "street tough" image, which appears ludicrous because Morant doesn't come from a tough background growing up and had the benefit of a middle-class two-parent upbringing. Fondling with a self-destruct button is confounding.

So, the question againWhat's Wrong With Ja Morant? Why would he jeopardize a promising and lucrative NBA career committing witless infractions? Morant is begging for help. He needs psychiatric counseling.

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Brian Bowen II runs during a Team USA basketball game. Photo courtesy of All-Pro Reels/Wikipedia Commons via Courthouse News

Just

89

points

shy

Kareem in LeBron's sights

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James enters today's game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis needing 89 points to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's career scoring leader.


James scored 28 points Tuesday in a 129-123 overtime victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden to increase his career total to 38,299 points in 1,407 games over 20 seasons. Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points in 1,560 games over 20 seasons.


James is seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 30.2 points per game. If he maintains his average and does not miss a game, he would set the record Tuesday in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Crypto.com Arena.
 

As he regularly is, James is listed as questionable due to left ankle soreness. However, he has played in 10 of the Lakers' past 11 games, missing only Monday's game at Brooklyn.
 

James scored 21 points in a 116-115 loss to the Pacers on Nov. 28 at Crypto.com Arena in the teams' only other meeting this season.
 

The Lakers (24-28) are 13th in the 15-team Western Conference, two games behind the New Orleans Pelicans in the race for the conference's final spot in the play-in tournament.
 

Indiana (24-28) is 10th in the 15-team Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of the Chicago Bulls in the race for the conference's final spot in the play-in tournament.
 

The game will be televised by Spectrum SportsNet at 4 p.m.

The Los Angeles Lakers have named Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham head coach Screen shot.

Lakers tab Darvin Ham head coach

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—The Los Angeles Lakers have found a new head coach, with the team today reaching a deal to hire Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham.


ESPN first reported the hire, which was subsequently confirmed through sources by the Los Angeles Times. Although the team did not immediately respond to a request for comment, star LeBron James confirmed the news on Twitter, writing, "So damn EXCITED!!!!!!! Congrats and welcome Coach DHam!!"


Ham, 48, played college ball at Texas Tech and spent 12 years as a pro, including stints with the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Bucks, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets. He has been an NBA assistant coach for more than a decade, including a 2011-13 stint with the Lakers.


He was also an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks before joining the Bucks coaching staff in 2018.


The Lakers in April fired head coach Frank Vogel following two straight disappointing seasons on the heels of the team's championship in the pandemic-abbreviated 2019-20 season.


In the 2020-21 season, the team finished 42-30 and was ousted from the playoffs in the first round. In the 2021-22 season, with James and Anthony Davis both battling injuries, the Lakers missed the postseason. Vogel compiled a 127-98 record during his time with the team.

So long Staples; Hello

Crypto.

com

Arena

Official
Christmas Day
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LOS ANGELES (CNS)After 22 years, the Lakers will play their last game at Staples Center tomorrow nighttwo days before the venerable downtown venue officially becomes "Crypto.com Arena" on Christmas Day.


The Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs in the 7:30 p.m. game, and plan a number of sendoff festivities for their finale under the "Staples" banner. They include:


A special opening video to be played prior to tip-off; fans in attendance receiving a commemorative ticket, as well as a T-shirt that's a replica of the first T-shirt given away at Staples in June 2000 when the Lakers won the NBA's Western Conference; several Lakers legends appearing for a halftime celebration featuring past NBA champion- ship trophies; a banner marking 22 years of Lakers history at Staples being featured along the top

of arena's City View Terrace.


The Lakers are scheduled to host the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day in the first game played at Crypto.com Arena, but that game is in danger of being postponed, as the Nets' roster has been devastated by the corona virus surge. Brooklyn's scheduled Thursday night game in Portland was postponed by the NBA on Wednesday, with the Nets not having the league-minimum of eight players available.

 

It was the third straight Nets game that was postponed. 

 

The Nets have signed several "hardship replacements," and as of Wednesday the Christmas Day game was still a go.  The Lakers' next scheduled home game after that is on New Year's Eve against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Clippers, who also call the arena home, are scheduled to host the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 26. 

 

The NHLs Los Angeles Kings, another tenant of the arena, are scheduled to host the Las Vegas Golden Knights at Crypto.com Arena on Dec. 28.  Crypto.com, which bills itself as the fastest-growing crypto currency platform, is beginning a 20-year naming rights agreement with AEG, the arena's owner. A new logo and other branding assets, including internal arena signage, will be introduced on Christmas Day if the game goes off as planned. All of the venue's external signage will be replaced by June. 

 

The agreement, announced Nov. 17, includes official designations across Crypto.com Arena, L.A. LIVE, Microsoft Theater, The Novo, the Lakers, and the Kings. The agreement also makes Crypto.com an official crypto currency platform partner of the Lakers and Kings. Terms of the agreement were not announced, though the Los Angeles Times reported Crypto.com paid more than $700 million for the naming rights, according to sources familiar with the terms. That would make it one of the biggest naming deals in sports history. 

 

Crypto.com claims to have more than 10 million customers. Its headquarters are in Singapore, and it employs more than 2,600 people in offices across the Americas, Europe and Asia.  The company was founded in 2016. It recently began a global campaign featuring actor Matt Damon to formally introduce the platform. 

 

Crypto.com also has sponsorships with the UFC, the F1 auto racing circuit, Italian soccer's Serie A, the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, and NHL's Montreal Canadiens.

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