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Lakers’ league-low free throw percentage concerns Luke Walton

By in Press Enterprise on November 27, 2017

By Elliott Teaford

EL SEGUNDO — The Lakers are giving away points and giving away games.

That’s Luke Walton’s opinion, and he’s not wrong.

The Lakers are shooting a league-worst 70.5 percent from the free throw line, averaging only 16.6 made free throws in 23.6 attempts through the season’s first 19 games. It helped to explain their 8-11 record and 6 1 /2-game deficit behind the Pacific Division-leading Golden State Warriors.

“We’re hitting them in practice the last couple of days,” Walton said Sunday. “We’re just killing our chances of winning with the percentage we’re shooting from the free throw line. Guys are hitting them (in practice), so now it’s about mentally being ready to take on that challenge of hitting them in games with 20,000 people watching and what-not.”

As of Saturday’s games, the Utah Jazz led the NBA by sinking 82.7 percent of their free throws.

For the record, the Lakers’ franchise record for lowest free-throw percentage is an anemic 65.0, set by the Elgin Baylor-, Wilt Chamberlain- and Jerry West-led 1968-69 team. The Lakers’ record for best free-throw percentage is 80.2, set in 1988-89.

The 2017-18 Lakers are misfiring at a disconcerting rate, and no one more so than rookie Lonzo Ball, who has made only 12 of 28 for a team-low 42.9 percent. Ball’s unconventional windup before shooting appeared to be complicated recently by a hurried approach as he toed the line.

“He hits them in practice,” Walton said of Ball, who was 0 of 2 from the line during the Lakers’ 113-102 loss last Wednesday to the Sacramento Kings, when they made only 9 of 15 (20 percent) as a team. “I thought, especially in Sacramento, he wasn’t taking his time at the line.

“Those are all things he’s working on.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Brook Lopez has made 43 of 52 for a […]    

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