The Lakers lost to the Pacers last night, 79-77, in an ugly game but an exciting finish. Well, the end result wasn’t very exciting for Lakers fans, for sure. We can all look at George Hill’s last-second lay-up and bad pick-and-roll defense on that play as culprits for the loss.
But there are other things we can look at. For instance, the Lakers went 23 for 43 (.545) from the line. That’s an incredibly poor performance at the line. They make only three of those and they win the game.
Those misses were more glaring at the end. The Lakers missed their last five foul shots, four in the last minute (two by Dwight Howard and two by Metta World Peace). Pau Gasol had this to say to ESPN L.A. on why the Lakers are missing these foul shots.
“It’s a mental thing,” Gasol said, summing up the reason the Lakers went just 23-for-43 from the free throw line as a team. “And it’s a confidence thing. So it’s something that you have to work mentally, not just repetition, which you also should get.”
Gasol went a perfect 6 for 6 from the line last night, including four crucial free throws in the fourth quarter. He’s been getting a lot of criticism as of late but you can’t criticize him for not coming through on the stripe.
The others, however, didn’t do so well from the free throw line last night. Dwight Howard, the usual suspect, went 3-12. Darius Morris, Antawn Jamison, and Metta World Peace all went 1 -4 each. The rest of the foul shots were by Kobe Bryant (11-13) but even he missed a critical free throw down the stretch.
But Gasol is right; it is a mental thing. They have to believe they can make these foul shots. It does make them think when they miss a foul shot but they have to erase that last miss in their mind and think about making the next one. Eventually, the players will get into a rhythm when it comes to shooting these. Hopefully, they all get into that rhythm and foul shots won’t be a problem for the Lakers in future games.