In a seven-game series, both teams are bound to notice all the little annoying tendencies of their opponents. And this was the case with Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors in their second-round matchup in the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers. Kerr, in the spirit of decrying his team’s missed opportunities in Game 4, called the Lakers out for embellishing contact, which Kerr believes forced the referees to call a few illegal screens against the Dubs time and time again.
As expected, head coach Darvin Ham, like many of his players, pushed back on that accusation. Responding to a question regarding a potential missed call on a Dennis Schroder drive early on in the Lakers’ 121-106 Game 5 defeat against the Warriors, Ham doubled down against Kerr’s callout of the Purple and Gold’s tendency to take some flops.
“We don’t teach flopping. We teach our players to play downhill, attack the paint, and be forceful,” Ham told Chris Haynes, sideline reporter for TNT’s Game 5 broadcast.
“We don’t teach flopping” -Darvin Ham pic.twitter.com/VsvF9uWTki
— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) May 11, 2023
Will any coach even admit to teaching his team to flop? Of course not. This is not to say that the Lakers are, indeed, teaching their players to make the most out of the physical contact they receive. But trying to do so has been part of the game for a long time. As the old adage goes, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
Nevertheless, it’s quite a bit of irony too on the Warriors’ side of things that head coach Steve Kerr is complaining about illegal screen calls. For the greater part of the Warriors’ dynastic eight-year run, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have benefitted plenty of times from moving screens, with 2015 NBA champion Andrew Bogut even shedding a bit of light on how referees call a different game for the Dubs.
At the end of the day, what Darvin Ham needs to teach his Lakers is how to close out the series against the Warriors. The Dubs simply refuse to die, but the Lakers have to do their best to try and seal the deal in front of their home crowd on Friday night.
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