LeBron James claps back at critics who claim all Lakers do is shoot free throws

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James commented on the “narrative” surrounding the Lakers and how often they get to the free-throw line after the team’s loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

James isn’t wrong, as the Lakers are dead last in the NBA this season in 3-point attempts per game (30.8) through their first 59 games.

Los Angeles gets to the rim often with players like James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and others who can attack the basket.

However, the Lakers attempted just eight free throws against the Suns on Sunday. James took four of those shots from the line, shooting a below average 1-for-4 from the charity stripe.

Rui Hachimura (one free-throw attempt), D’Angelo Russell (one free-throw attempt) and Austin Reaves (two free-throw attempts) were the only other players to get to the line.

Meanwhile, Phoenix shot 19 shots from the free-throw line on Sunday, making 18 of them. That helped the Suns immensely in their 10-point win.

This season, the Suns actually attempt more shots from the line per game than the Lakers, ranking No. 4 in the league. Phoenix attempts 25.2 free throws per game while the Lakers attempt 24.3 (No. 6 in the NBA).

Clearly, James wasn’t a huge fan of the lack of calls in favor of Los Angeles in Sunday’s loss. With the Lakers dropping to 31-28 on the season with the loss, the team is currently the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference.

The Golden State Warriors have now passed the Lakers in the Western Conference standings, although that could change as soon as Sunday night, as the Warriors take on the Denver Nuggets at Chase Center.

Hopefully, the Lakers aren’t deterred from playing their style of basketball because of one game where they didn’t get to the line as much as they are used to. Since the Lakers don’t rely on the 3-point shot as much as other teams, it’s crucial that they make up for some of that difference at the charity stripe.

James and the Lakers will have a few days off to rest and get their minds right before they take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. That’ll be the first game of a back-to-back, as the team faces the Washington Wizards on Thursday night this week.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.