Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has issued a warning to his team as they prepare to face the Phoenix Suns in the NBA in-season tournament knockout round on Tuesday. Despite the absence of Bradley Beal, the Suns boast a formidable lineup with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.
Ham acknowledges the challenge posed by the Suns, referring to them as a “formidable ball club” even without their complete trio of stars. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on their own game and putting their best effort forward against the Suns.
Ham Applauds Durant and Booker’s Prowess
Praising the individual talents of Durant and Booker, Ham acknowledges the unique threat each poses. He commends Booker for elevating his game to a “completely different level” and highlights the need for a resilient mentality on defense, urging the Lakers not to get discouraged, as even perfect defense may not prevent scoring by the star duo.
This matchup marks the third encounter between the Lakers and Suns this season, with the Lakers holding a 2-0 record so far. However, it also signifies the first time the Lakers will face the Suns with both Durant and Booker on the court.
Durant, who has been a scoring force against the Lakers in previous meetings, boasts impressive season averages of 31.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. Notably, he maintains an impressive 49.4% shooting accuracy from beyond the arc.
Booker’s evolution as a player is evident in his improved passing and scoring. Having played 11 games this season, he is contributing a career-best 8.4 assists per game and achieving a personal best scoring average of 27.9 points per game.
As the Lakers prepare for this challenging matchup, Ham emphasizes the need for a collective and persistent defensive effort against the dynamic duo of Durant and Booker, recognizing the difficulty even in executing perfect defense against such elite offensive talents.