The fun began after Game 4, when Warriors head coach Steve Kerr described the Lakers as "a team that plays with a lot of gamesmanship" and said they "understand how to generate some calls." He doubled down Wednesday ahead of Game 5, acknowledging the Lakers "doing what it takes to win" and calling one play a "blatant flop."
"We don't teach flopping. We teach our players to play downhill and attack the paint and be forceful," Ham said.
LeBron James — a player who, shall we say, has a reputation for this kind of stuff — echoed Ham's sentiment after the game, saying that the Lakers don't seek chances to flop. He took things further by claiming that he has never been on a team that flops.
"We don't work on flopping."
LeBron echoes Darvin Ham's comments about gamesmanship pic.twitter.com/HPx0DQAj9H
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 11, 2023
James' full quote:
"I just know that we, our coaching staff and us players, we don't work on flopping. That's not even part of our game. Our game is to attack, attack the paint. We don't mind physical contact, we actually like the contact, we don't shy away from it. We're just not a team that goes out there looking for flopping opportunities. That's just not us. It's actually never been any team that I've played on in 20 years where we've been a flopping team.
"It is what it is. They have the right to say what they want to say, but the game is always won between the four lines, and we've got to be better on Friday, for sure."
At this point, we should probably note that James himself talked about the value of flopping while he was with the Miami Heat in 2013. So you might say he has flip-flopped on flopping during this flap.
It appears that at least one member of the Warriors disagrees with James' assessment of the situation. Golden State big man JaMychal Green called cap on James' quote the next day on his Instagram story.
— Ball Don’t Lie (@Balldontlie) May 11, 2023
The foul discrepancy has been a recurring story this series, with many Warriors fans noting that their team has been called for 109 fouls against the Lakers' 80 so far, with the Lakers taking 118 free throws to the Warriors' 66. You could call that a product of flopping, uneven refereeing or the fact that the Lakers attack the paint more.
Whatever the reason and whatever is being said, the Lakers will try to end the series in Game 6, which is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET Friday (ESPN). The Lakers' bigger concern right now is the health of Anthony Davis, who left Game 5 due to a head injury but is reportedly on track to play in Game 6.