Lakers: Darvin Ham Makes Lineup Decision on D’Angelo Russell After Viral Video

Lakers coach Darvin Ham and D'Angelo Russell

Getty Head coach Darvin Ham and D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers follow the action from the sideline.

Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham is sticking with his beleaguered guard D’Angelo Russell despite his woeful Game 3 performance and a viral video of him scrolling his phone while munching on a snack during a Lakers huddle.

Russell will remain in the starting lineup, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin despite the backlash the Lakers guard received.

Former lottery pick and current ESPN analyst Jay Williams slammed Russell’s unprofessional behavior on the April 26 episode of “Get Up.”

“I don’t know if he’s on his cellphone, or if he’s eating snacks — I don’t know what the hell it is,” Williams said. “As a former player, I always try to defend players and talk about things from their position. But while you’re in a playoff battle, even if there’s only 3.5 minutes left and your team is out of it, you still have one more game left.”

Russell and Williams were both former No. 2 picks.

During their deflating 112-105 Game 3 loss at Arena, Russell went scoreless as he muffed all of his seven attempts in 25 minutes of play.

Another ESPN analyst, Stephen A. Smith called Russell a “disgrace” to the Lakers organization.

“D’Angelo Russell — what a disgrace and an embarrassment,” Stephen A. Smith said on “First Take” on April 26. “It’s hard to look at this brother. … It’s disgraceful.

LeBron James doesn’t deserve a teammate like that. Somebody like [Russell] that does not prioritize [his team], not focused, get rid of him.”

LeBron James’ Passive-Aggressive Approach on Struggling Teammates

James took an indirect shot at the Lakers point guard and their other underperforming role players.

“You’d have to ask the individuals that question and see how they feel,” James told reporters when asked if he believes the pressure of the postseason is getting to some of his teammates. “It’s hard for me just to be like, ‘This is what I think that guy feels.’ … I can’t do that. I’m not a mind reader. I don’t know.”

Then James urged the rest of the Lakers to meet him and Davis’ high-level of play to stay alive in the series.

“Me and this guy [Anthony Davis] have been playing together for six years,” James continued. “We’ve been to the mountaintop. We’ve been close to the mountaintop. We’ve played a lot of games. We know what it takes to win. We know what it takes to win a championship and how damn near perfect you got to be. That’s not like something that’s so crazy to obtain.”

‘Until the Wheels Fall Off’

While no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Playoffs, James has been on a Cleveland team that staged a 3-1 comeback in the NBA Finals.

With every game now must-win, a defiant James he will play his best until the Lakers get knocked out.

“It’s one game at a time, at this point,” James told reporters. “You lose, you go home. So we’re going come in with the mindset of, ‘Let’s get one.’ Force a Game 5 and then we go from there. So as long as you still have life, then you always have belief. I just think you play until the wheels fall off.”

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