My December 10th posting discusses the Lakers poor free throw shooting (they are currently last in the NBA, shooting slightly under 70%!). I provided stats in that blog to show how they could have won 5 more games if they would make most of their free throws.
Last night’s home game vs. Golden State Warriors is the clearest example of missed free throws costing them the game, which they ultimately lost by only 2 points in overtime. The Warriors sent them to the free throw line often, but the young Laker players could not deliver. They shot 22 of 35 from the free throw line (a terrible 63%). If they shot better at the free throw line, the Lakers would have won in regulation. The Lakers shot a higher field goal percentage last night (45% vs. the Warriors’ 40% and 40% from the three point line versus 32%), and the normally turn-over prone Lakers had fewer turnovers than the champs (12 vs. 14). Yes, there was a large disparity in rebounding with Golden State getting 16 more rebounds than the Lakers, but that just helped the Warriors stay in the game; it didn’t give them the “win”! But it does explain the Warriors’ low field goal percentage.
After the game I was waiting in line for an open stall in the ladies room and talking to my friend about how in the world the Lakers coaching staff can get better results from the players at the free throw line. Behind us in line was an attractive 40-something blonde all decked out in Kobe regalia (it was the night of retiring Kobe’s jerseys) and she heard us talking and, without missing a beat, she started yelling at me “….Luke Walton needs to do something about their free throwing!!!!…this is all his fault…I’m sick of this…I can’t hardly watch them….they’re never gonna win if they can’t shoot free throws”! At that moment, a stall opened up and I ran away from this overwrought female fan who continued to yell at me as I quickly ran away.
Luke, me and the blonde and obviously many more fans want to know what you and your coaching staff are going to do. You have taught them to play fast, with considerable effort and desire, but all for nothing if they can’t shoot free throws!!!!!!