Los Angeles Lakers left frustrated by free throw disparity in loss to Phoenix Suns: "We live on getting to the line. We attack the basket"

Monday, 26 February 2024 at 22:47
lebron james lakers
In a game that saw frustration boil over on multiple fronts, the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves at the mercy of a glaring free throw disparity in their 123-113 defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. With Phoenix capitalizing on 19 trips to the charity stripe compared to a mere eight for the Lakers, it was a bitter pill for LeBron James and company to swallow.
James, a figure synonymous with the Lakers franchise since his arrival in 2018, could only chuckle when confronted with questions about the lopsided free throw counts. Such a discrepancy, marking a season-low for the Lakers and tying their lowest total since James donned the purple and gold, left the superstar visibly bemused.
While James opted for laughter, Lakers coach Darvin Ham was less amused, expressing his ire at the inconsistency of officiating that seemed to favor the Suns throughout the contest.
"I'm not one to use referees as an excuse," Ham asserted. "But it's becoming increasingly tough because of the inconsistency. I'm seeing our guys get the same contact on them as we're supposedly committing. And the whistle is not being blown."
The disparity was stark, particularly given the Lakers' penchant for attacking the rim, a strategy integral to their game plan. Ham emphasized the team's focus on winning the battle at the free throw line, a tactic that appeared to fall short against the Suns' relentless defense.
"That's something we focus on, trying to win the free throw line every game," Ham explained. "And so that's tough. I'm telling my guys to drive downhill; we're trying to love and live in the paint. And you're not getting calls. I see guys with their hands in our guys' ribs or swinging, swiping at their heads, trying to block the shot but not getting the ball, but getting a piece of the body. And it's not being called, as simple as that."
The frustration extended beyond just James and Ham, permeating the entire Lakers roster. Anthony Davis, a key presence in the paint, found himself devoid of any free throw attempts for the first time this season, an anomaly that left him questioning the officiating.
"We live on getting to the line. We attack the basket," Davis asserted. "Especially how much we struggle from the 3, we're kind of up and down, so we try to live in the paint and get to the line. I'm not sure if it was just the refs missing it or they weren't fouling. I felt I got fouled a couple of times. But that's part of our identity, our DNA, is getting to the line and guys catching rhythms like that and then playing from there."
The frustration over the free throw disparity compounded an already challenging night for the Lakers, who struggled defensively, allowing the Suns to build an early lead that proved insurmountable despite a late surge.