The 51-year-old skipper had a lot to say about the game’s free-throw disparity after the Lakers found themselves at the line significantly more than the Suns. Los Angeles took 46 free throws, and Phoenix took just 20.
Monty Williams was extremely frustrated with the free throw disparity. He answered one question and then walked off. pic.twitter.com/pkmrJfbar1
— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) March 23, 2023
“We’re attacking the rim,” Williams said. “I’m getting explanations about, ‘We’re taking too many jump shots, midrange jump shots.’ We’re playing a physical game. They had 27 free throws in the first half. They end up with 46. When do you see a game with 46 free throws for one team? That’s just not — that’s not right. I don’t care how you slice it. It’s happening to us too much. Other teams are reaching. Other teams are hitting. And we’re not getting the same call. And I’m tired of it. It’s just — it’s old.
“46 to 20 free throws with Devin Booker on our team. He gets 12, and Josh [Okogie] gets — our bench had no free throws. That’s just — I’m over it. Been talking about the same thing for a while, doesn’t matter what team it is.”
The Suns are indeed one of the teams with the fewest trips to the charity stripe this season. They’re averaging just 21.5 free-throw attempts per game, which ranks 28th out of 30 NBA teams.
It’s also worth noting that the opposite is true for the Lakers. Los Angeles leads the entire league in free-throw attempts per game this season at 26.6.
Those two trends obviously didn’t change when the Suns and Lakers met on Wednesday. Free throws may very well have been the difference in the game, as the Lakers won by 11 and made 21 more free throws than the Suns.
Phoenix is a team that features many players that take lots of midrange shots, but Williams doesn’t seem satisfied with that explanation. The other teams that rank below the Suns in terms of free-throw attempts per game are the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors.
Postseason games are often officiated differently than regular season contests, so Williams can hope that things change once the playoffs roll around. Although they don’t have much breathing room, the Suns have a chance to eventually secure a solid seed in the Western Conference, as they’re currently in fourth place with a 38-34 record.
Talent alone may ultimately be enough for Phoenix to overcome its concerns about free throws. Between Booker, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, the Suns have enough star power to go all the way this season.
The Lakers, meanwhile, are still battling for a postseason spot and need every win they can get. They’ll be back in action on Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.