Sports

Lakers-Clippers takeaways: LeBron James on lack of calls, ‘I gotta learn how to flop’

His team is in the midst of yet another losing streak and his star player left the game Wednesday because of left leg soreness, but Lakers coach Darvin Ham said his mental state is not that of, “Woe is me.”

As a first-year coach, Ham said his spirits have been “great” despite a 2-9 record that has left the Lakers with the second-worst record in the NBA and LeBron James injured during the fourth quarter of their loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night.

The Lakers opened the season with a five-game losing streak, won two straight and now have lost four in a row.

Yet Ham’s view is more positive during these troubled times for the Lakers, saying things like how “blessed” he is to coach the Lakers and to live in sunny Los Angeles.

“I get disappointed, but I never get down,” Ham said. “I never get that frustrated where I’m like, ‘Whoa, is me.’ Nah, we got some things we need to fix and we’ll fix them. And that’s the challenge of sitting in this seat. I’m thrilled to be here in front of all you beautiful people and I have a beautiful job. I get to work with beautiful human beings and coach beautiful human beings. I’m good, man. I’m good.”

Ham was asked, do his players share his same optimism?

“I don’t know, but they should,” Ham said. “For anybody to pay you to work out for a living, basically what is going on. It’s like getting paid a billion dollars to make sure you go to LA Fitness every day, right? That’s a beautiful life to live. Again, they shouldn’t be down. You got to keep things in perspective.

“Everything that we have been through in society, man — like COVID and all of that, man. You got to be thankful to be outside and be amongst the people and doing what you love. That’s a beautiful thing. Can’t be lost on you.”

Here are two other takeaways from the game:

James wants more free-throw opportunities

During his 32 minutes, James shot just four free throws, making two. He has shot just 16 free throws in his last four games.

James said he’s fine with the game being physical. He just wishes he could get a few more calls his way.

“I’m OK with that. I love physicality,” James said. “But I also would like for the whistle to be blown when I get hit. I mean, four free throws once again. I looked at a lot of guys tonight shoot a lot of jump shots and they’re going nine, 13 times to the free-throw line.

“I gotta learn how to flop or something. Seriously. I need to learn how to do that. Swipe my head back or do something to get to the free-throw line because the ‘I missed it’ [from the officials] is getting too repetitive. It’s three games straight of ‘I missed it.’”

Troy Brown is playing solid

Troy Brown was a bright spot for the Lakers. He had 14 points on six-for-10 shooting. He also had four rebounds and played solid defense.

Brown’s play has left an impression on James.

“Troy’s been great,” James said. “I believe in any role that Troy would be great. And he’s been playing great ball since he got back into the lineup. When he first came back to now, he’s starting, Troy has been great. He’s been amazing.”

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