The Los Angeles Lakers slipped back into bad habits on November 28 as they gave up a fourth-quarter lead to fall to defeat against the Indiana Pacers.
Speaking on a November 29 episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith sounded off on Anthony Davis’ limited impact down the stretch, bemoaning the superstar forward taking just two shots in the final quarter of play.
“The way Anthony Davis has been playing, how the hell do you take two shots in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers?… Remember, he wants to be the number one option. Remember, it’s something he’s demanded. Remember, it’s something that the Lakers have openly and publicly have acquiesced to…For me, I look at Anthony Davis, and I’m saying ‘Ok, you wanna be that man? Demand the damn ball, get into some people’s faces, tell them to stop messing around and give you the damn ball,” Smith said.
Despite Davis’ limited impact in the fourth quarter, the Lakers star ended the game with 25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and four blocks while shooting 60% from the field on 9-of-15 shooting.
Darvin Ham Sounds Off After Loss
Speaking to the media in his post-game press conference, head coach Darvin Ham shared his thoughts on the Lakers’ struggles in the final quarter against the Pacers, noting how he takes responsibility for the collapse down the stretch.
“I think us not taking advantage in terms of continuing to play downhill, play with force, continue to move the ball…It’s just one of those things when you get a lead like that, the free throw line allows you to maintain your lead. I wish we would have been a lot more aggressive, continue playing with pace and also continue to be organized and move the ball. And that falls on me. That falls on me. I’ll take responsibility for that…I have to do a better job of keeping us organized during those stretches offensively,” Ham said.
The Lakers now sit 13th in the NBA’s Western Conference standings, 2.5 games behind the Golden State Warriors who occupy the 10th seed, and currently have a steep hill to climb if they want to enter the race to be part of the play-in tournament at the end of the season.
Patrick Beverley Could be Traded
According to a November 28 article by Jovan Buha of The Atheltic, the Lakers could be tempted to test the waters on potential interest in defensive specialist Patrick Beverley, especially if they continue to stutter throughout the coming month.
“One name to watch is Patrick Beverley, who’s the fourth-highest-paid player on the team at $13 million…Beverley is still an elite defender and one of the group’s vocal leaders, but he’s averaging a career-low 4.1 points per game and shooting a career-worst 23.8 percent on 3s. Beverley, like Kendrick Nunn, could still have value on teams looking for veteran backcourt help. The Lakers’ needs and glut of guards make both expendable,” Buha wrote.
Beverley has been underwhelming this season, especially on the offensive end, averaging just 4.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game despite averaging 27.4 minutes of gameplay per night.
It’s clear the Lakers need to shake things up with their roster, and perhaps Beverley is the ideal starting point to start making those changes – of course, it’s going to take more than a single trade to get Los Angeles’ season back on track.