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#pounditWednesday, July 24, 2024

Darvin Ham explains why he will not bench D’Angelo Russell

D'Angelo Russell warming up

Mar 1, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell (0) warms up before the start of the third quarter during a game against the Dallas Mavericks at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham is not planning to repeat his D’Angelo Russell tactic from last year’s playoffs.

Ham said Friday he will use the same starting lineup for Game 4 of their Western Conference first round series, even after Russell’s 0-for-7 dud in Game 3. Ham benched Russell for Game 4 last year with the Lakers facing elimination against Denver, but will not make the same move this time.

“You want to give your players a chance to make good for themselves,” Ham said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “There were questions about that after Game 1 and you saw what we did in Game 2. He got back in the gym, as he’s always done, and worked on his stuff. And he provided a great source of income in Game 2. Although we came up short, he was one of the reasons we were able to be in the game.”

Russell scored 23 points and made seven threes in Game 2, and Ham clearly hopes his guard can stage a repeat performance with the Lakers facing elimination in Game 4. The guard’s confidence did not appear to be dented before Game 3, but that confidence did not lead to a performance.

The Nuggets have haunted Russell for a while, even dating back to last year. His Game 1 showing was also brutal and led to a lot of mockery on social media. If he cannot deliver in Game 4, it will only get worse for him.

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