Forget Hack a Dwight.
Opposing teams may just want to adopt this strategy to win games: Hack the Lakers.
The Lakers (7-8) rank 29th out of 30 NBA teams in free-throw shooting, making 66.8 percent of those shots from the stripe. In four of the Lakers’ eight losses, the margin between made and missed free throws exceeded the point differential between winning and losing. Among the worst Lakers players to send to the free throw line include Dwight Howard (47.8 percent), Darius Morris (56.5 percent), Jordan Hill (61.5 percent) and Antawn Jamison (63.2 percent).
“Stop talking about it. I don’t want to hear about it,” Howard said after going three of 12 from the line in the Lakers’ 79-77 loss Tuesday to the Indiana Pacers. “That’s my problem, thinking too much at the line.”
Interestingly enough, the Lakers post vastly different numbers in practice. According to a whiteboard at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, the Lakers have made 90 percent of their free throws, led by Jodie Meeks (97 percent), Steve Nash (97 percent), Steve Blake (93 percent) and Kobe Bryant (91 percent).
Even the Lakers’ poor free throw shooters have fared well in practice, including Jamison (89 percent), Hill (88 percent), Morris (83 percent) and Howard (80 percent).
But that means very little if they’re not translating into games.
“It’s a mental thing and a confidence thing,” said Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who has averaged 75.9 percent from the free-throw line this season. “It’s something you have to work on mentally. It’s not just repetition. We have to step it up as a team and step on the line because a lot of close games will be decided by free throws.”
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