Lakers present case to NBA regarding LeBron James’ lack of free throws

Lakers' LeBron James and Alex Caruso defend as Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray attempts to pass.
LeBron James and Alex Caruso defend as Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray attempts to pass the ball during the second half Tuesday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Lakers have presented a case to the NBA that their star, LeBron James, is not nearly getting his fair share of free throws even though they are positive the hard-charging forward is getting fouled plenty by the Denver Nuggets in their Western Conference finals playoff series.

James shot just two free throws during the Game 3 defeat to the Nuggets on Tuesday night at AdventHealth Arena. And those two free throws came after Denver guard Jamal Murray was called for a flagrant foul for an elbow to James’ jaw.

He has shot 10 free throws total in the three games of the best-of-seven series that resumes Thursday night with Game 4 and the Lakers leading 2-1.


“We’re dealing with the fouls through the proper channels with the league,” coach Frank Vogel told the media via videoconference Wednesday after practice. “I think he’s gone to the basket very aggressively, and I’ll just leave it at that.”

A look at the Lakers’ 114-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the Western Conference final.

Sept. 23, 2020

In 13 playoff games, James is averaging 6.6 free throws per game, making 72.1% of them. He’s averaging 25.9 points per game, 10 rebounds and 8.8 assists.

The Lakers have had their share of issues with the referees in this series against the Nuggets.

Dwight Howard has been called for two technical fouls, one each in Games 2 and 3, and Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy was called for a technical foul in Game 2.

Vogel was asked about his team’s composure considering the Lakers have been hit with three technical fouls.

“I don’t have any comment publicly about it at this time,” Vogel said.

Vogel then was asked how the Lakers are handling the calls from the referees.

“Yeah, I mean, I think we’re exhibiting decent composure,” Vogel said. “I know we got the tech in Game 2, but yeah, we’re playing through it.”


The Lakers almost wiped out a big second-half deficit before the Denver Nuggets pulled out a win in Game 3, thanks to unheralded forward Jerami Grant.

Sept. 23, 2020

Injury update

The Lakers have listed guards Danny Green and Alex Caruso as probable for Game 4 because of injuries, but Vogel said he “expects” both to play.

Green said he was playing after suffering a volar plate injury to his ring finger on his left hand. Caruso was scheduled to have an MRI exam late Wednesday night because of a sore right wrist.