Lakers’ free-throw disparity is nothing new – it’s part of their formula – Orange County Register

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LOS ANGELES — Free-throw disparity was a hot topic after the Lakers’ 132-131 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.

The Lakers took 23 more free throws (36-13) than the Raptors in their victory, including a 23-2 free-throw advantage for the hosts in the fourth quarter – which drew the ire of Raptors coach Darko Rajaković, who went on a furious, table-pounding rant about the officiating postgame.

“I understand, respect for All-Stars and that, but we have star players on our team as well,” Toronto’s first-year coach said. “How is it possible that Scottie Barnes, who is [an] All-Star-caliber player in this league, he goes every single time to the rim with force and trying to get to the rim without flopping and not trying to get foul calls. He gets two free throws for the whole game.

“How is that possible? How are you going to explain that to me? They had to win tonight? If that’s the case just let us know so we don’t show up for the game. Just give them the win.”

Rajaković was fined $25,000 by the league for publicly criticizing the officiating.

When made aware that Rajaković wasn’t happy with the free-throw disparity, Lakers star LeBron James said postgame: “I feel like they fouled and we didn’t.”

While Tuesday was on the extreme end of the spectrum, in part because the Raptors intentionally fouled down the stretch, it isn’t anything new. Winning the free-throw battle is part of the Lakers’ formula for success.

The Lakers entered Thursday ninth in the NBA in free throws attempted per game (24.3) and second in fewest free throws allowed (19.4), one of four teams ranked in the top-10 in both along with the Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks.

The free-throw disparity was even greater in the Lakers’ favor last season: they led the league in free throws attempted (26.6) and allowed the fewest (20.8).

Both taking a lot of free throws and not fouling a lot are aspects of the game the Lakers emphasize.

“I mean, we got LeBron [James] and [Anthony Davis],” Lakers guard Austin Reaves said Thursday morning ahead of their matchup against the Phoenix Suns. “And regardless of what you think about how they play or what they do, they’re aggressive, they’re physical, they get down here like you said.

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