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Lakers' Game Plan Criticized by Fans After LeBron James, LA Lose to Kings

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 19, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings  on January 18, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA fans ripped the Los Angeles Lakers and their coaching after another late-game gaffe contributed to a 116-111 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn hit a three-pointer with seven seconds left in regulation to cut the deficit from four to one, but Max Christie was called for a clear-path foul on Kings center Richaun Holmes off the inbound, giving the Kings two free throws and the ball in the waning seconds:

NBA on ESPN @ESPNNBA

THIS ENDING ‼️<br><br>Lakers lose on a take foul 😬 <a href="https://t.co/7AY5CkCFab">pic.twitter.com/7AY5CkCFab</a>

There seemed to be some confusion after Nunn made the trifecta since he was bumped and a foul could have been called, but the officials determined that it was a clean play.

Despite the fact that a foul could have been called on Sacramento, several Twitter users criticized the Lakers and head coach Darvin Ham for not being ready to foul in a proper manner after the basket:

Roddy White @roddywhiteTV

Damn watching these lakers are crazy Nunn hits the shot and none of these guys are ready to foul. This is crazy

πŸ‡­πŸ‡ΉπŸ‘‘King JamesπŸ‘‘πŸ‡­πŸ‡Ή @Mister7hursday

Lakers can't even foul correctly.....🀬🀬🀬🀬🀬 <a href="https://t.co/J4lu5xPgNE">pic.twitter.com/J4lu5xPgNE</a>

Jackson Flickinger @Akron_Jackson

Hitting a three down four and then not covering the ensuing inbound leading to a clear path foul seems like the perfect encapsulation for the Lakers season.

QuestFor18 @HisandHerLakers

Damn. Another bad foul. This is clear path. Just one bad mistake after another. Lakers get outplayed like every game now in crunch time.

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS

Darvin Ham does a lot of things well. He's still very much a rookie when it comes to managing the end of games. That's probably the difference between the Lakers being above .500 right now and being 20-25.

Carlos 🟠 @CarlosBerkley

Darvin Ham is the worst coach in the western conference, and he's the worst late game coach I've seen in my entire life watching hundreds of coaches over a decade of NBA games

Ham was also bashed for his late-game decision-making and play-calling, including his penchant for leaning too heavily on superstar LeBron James at times:

Jake @SuperiorNBA

Darvin Ham drawing up a play with the game on the line <a href="https://t.co/B22NO14S6x">pic.twitter.com/B22NO14S6x</a>

πŸ¦… @KenHeLive

"Timeout, Lakers"<br><br>Darvin Ham in the huddle: <a href="https://t.co/83tPN1S4Qb">pic.twitter.com/83tPN1S4Qb</a>

Josiah Johnson @KingJosiah54

Lakers tryna hang on to a lead <a href="https://t.co/S1UJR9eb3H">pic.twitter.com/S1UJR9eb3H</a>

LeBron led the Lakers in scoring again Wednesday night with 32 points to go along with nine assists and eight rebounds, but as has become a common theme, he didn't get much help.

None of the Lakers' other four starters scored in double figures, and they combined for just 20 points in total.

Russell Westbrook, Nunn, Christie and Wenyen Gabriel all scored in double figures off the bench, but they were all under 20 points apiece, underscoring the need to create more secondary scoring in support of James.

The return of Anthony Davis would help immensely in that regard, but he has been out since mid-December with a foot injury, and it remains unclear when he will be back.

Even with LeBron putting up MVP-caliber numbers, the Lakers are just 20-25 on the season, putting them 13th in the Western Conference.

As bad as things have been, L.A. is just 1.5 games out of 10th place, which is the final spot in the postseason play-in tournament.

That suggests they still have an opportunity to turn things around if Davis comes back healthy and the Lakers make a move or two ahead of next month's trade deadline.