Lakers struggle from free-throw line: Five takeaways from the loss to 76ers

Lakers' LeBron James goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76er defenders.
Lakers’ LeBron James shoots over the defense of Matisse Thybulle, who gets help from Dwight Howard (39), Shake Milton (18) and Furkan Korkmaz.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

The Lakers shot 64% from the free-throw line, each miss decreasing their chances of defeating the 76ers on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

The stars for the Lakers, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, got to the line the most.

But only James had a decent night shooting free throws, making eight of 11.

Davis was just five for 10.

“They missed 10, so it was really even from the line,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said about the 76ers going 16 for 26 from the line. “Good free-throw shooters are gonna have nights where they miss free throws. Everybody concentrates on their work. They do their routine. They get ready for it. Can’t really worry about it. You’ve just got to focus on making them next game.”

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1. The Lakers were down 90-81 when Davis stepped to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. He missed both.

The Lakers were down 92-81 when James stepped to the free throw line in the fourth quarter. He also missed both.

That was a part of the Lakers going 16 for 25 from the line. Davis was asked about his free-throw struggles.

“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “Missed two tonight and then made the final two. So, at this point, it’s just all mental. It’s nothing that I’m really worried about. I’m going to continue to draw fouls and get to the line and have confidence in my work that I’m going to make the free throws. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make free throws, to make teams pay for the fouling, and I haven’t been good at that this year, but it’s something that I’m not too concerned about.”

2. Alex Caruso made several big plays to help the Lakers get back into the game. His three-pointer cut the Lakers’ deficit to seven late in the fourth quarter. Then he hustled for a rebound and tipped the ball out after a Davis missed shot.

That led to a three-pointer by Dennis Schroder that trimmed the Lakers’ deficit to four. That forced the 76ers to call a timeout with 1 minute 45 seconds left.

Caruso finished his night with 10 points on four-for-seven shooting, making his only three-point attempt.

“AC is whatever we need,” James said about Caruso. “AC is kind of a Swiss Army knife, to be honest. If you need scissors, a wine opener, fingernail clipper, you get a knife, he’s all that in one. He can do it all, he just helps our ballclub in so many ways. He can bring the ball up, can play point, he can play off the ball, he’s shooting dead eye from three this year and he defends at a high level. And he doesn’t make many mistakes so you always can live with that. You can live with a guy on the floor like that and he just plays championship basketball.”

3. The Lakers used the three-pointer in the fourth quarter to help them get back into the game, going five for eight in shooting 62.5%. But for the game, the Lakers shot just 33.3% (eight for 24) from long range. In the first quarter, the Lakers were one for seven from three-point range, 0 for 4 in the second quarter and two for five in the third.


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4. Schroder’s teammates noticed a different player in the second half. He missed all five of his shots in the first half, didn’t score and was a minus-eight. But Schroder scored 16 points in the second half, going seven for nine from the field. He was a plus-eight.

“I think he started playing downhill,” Marc Gasol said. “The paint opened up for him once he made a couple of shots from the outside. He was playing very aggressive downhill and got to the paint, got the and-one in the fourth quarter also. He was just decisively to attack his defender.”

5. James played heavy minutes considering the Lakers have back-to-back games. They play at Detroit on Thursday night.

James played 38:32. He had 34 points, six assists and six rebounds.