The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to get the job done on Wednesday with a 3-1 lead, instead allowing the series to go to a sixth game in Los Angeles after a Memphis Grizzlies win. It would have been a great opportunity for the Lake Show to get much-needed rest but alas, the team will be back in action on Friday.
If the Lakers would have won they would have joined two other teams that punched their ticket to the second round on Wednesday. The New York Knicks and Miami Heat, who were both the lower seed and were heavy underdogs, defeated their respective opponents to win the series in five games.
While it is on the Eastern Conference and does not impact LA’s path to the NBA Finals, the Heat upsetting the Milwaukee Bucks (in five games nonetheless) is slightly concerning for Lakers fans. After watching what happened in the Lake Show’s Game 5, there are some concerning trends.
Lakers fans should worry even more about Darvin Ham after Mike Budenholzer self-destructs vs the Heat.
Jimmy Butler deserves all the credit in the world for willing the Heat to the series win and turning in yet another classic Butler performance in the playoffs. But an equally big story on the other side of the coin is Mike Budenholzer’s disastrous coaching in this series.
It was bad, plain and simple. Budenzholer’s rotations were questionable at best and this was the second time he allowed his team to blow a fourth-quarter lead and didn’t offer much resistance. We just saw an NBA Finals-winning coach in Frank Vogel get let go. It wouldn’t be totally crazy to think that Budenholzer could be the latest example.
So why should this worry Lakers fans? Ham was a long-time assistant of Budenholzer both in Milwaukee and in Atlanta. This doesn’t mean that the two coaches are going to be identical but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
It would be one thing if there weren’t already concerns about Ham and the fact that he seems to be learning on the job out there. He doesn’t have his own head-coaching experience and instead has only seen Budenholzer coach these critical spots.
And as we saw on Wednesday, Budenholzer wasn’t cut out for it and let his team down. Hours before that, Ham let his team down as well.