Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers were rolling in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Denver Nuggets. With a 20-point third-quarter lead, it looked like they were heading for their first win over the Nuggets in 10 tries, and if they'd done so, they would have stolen home-court advantage in a suddenly competitive first-round series.

Instead, the Nuggets adjusted. Michael Malone tweaked his defense to allow Aaron Gordon to guard Anthony Davis, disarming the Davis-LeBron James pick-and-roll and leaving the Lakers completely disoriented on offense for a significant stretch of the late-third and early-fourth quarter. Their defense collapsed in the cyclone that is the Nikola Jokic-Jamal Murray pick-and-roll, with Ham's decision to open late possessions with James guarding Murray leading to the Nuggets scoring on three consecutive possessions to win the game.

It was as frustrating a loss as the Lakers have suffered all season, and Davis himself voiced a frustration that extended well beyond a single game. "We have stretches where we don't know what we're doing on both ends of the floor," he said after Game 2. Though Davis did not directly take a shot at the coaching staff, it would be hard to read this quote as anything else. Ham has drawn a significant amount of criticism this season, and in January, The Athletic reported that there was a "deepening disconnect between coach Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room."

Ham addressed what Davis said after a film session on Wednesday and defended the Laker coaching staff. "I mean, I just think sometimes when plays don't turn out the way you think they should, then the frustration sets in a little bit," Ham said. "But I don't think it's [from] us not being organized. I think I have incredibly talented coaches all along my staff. We pride ourselves, whether it's a practice, a shootaround, a film session, a game or whatever, we pride ourselves on being highly efficient and organized. I just chalk that up to being frustrated. It's an emotional game, the way it ended and all of that. But I'll agree to disagree on that one."

Going home should make life a bit easier for the Lakers in the next two games. They went 28-14 in home games this season, and if the Lakers can turn things around in Thursday night's Game 3, there's still time for them to make this a competitive series. 

But the Nuggets beat the Lakers twice in Los Angeles in last year's series. They've now beaten them 10 times in a row as a whole. If that streak reaches 12, it's going to be hard to defend Ham or his staff's track record against the Nuggets. If your team doesn't know what it's doing by its 10th attempt against a single opponent, your coaching staff is doing something wrong.