Draymond frustrated as Warriors hurt again by free throws originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Warriors with 7:53 remaining in the first half on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals went up 40-29 behind a Moses Moody 3-pointer.
They sure wish the game lasted 16 minutes instead of 48. At times, they played like that was their hopeful reality in a 127-97 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Crypto.com Arena, putting the Warriors in a two-game- to-one deficit.
In just under eight minutes, the rest of the night shifted in the wrong direction for the Warriors. Golden State was outscored 30-8 to close the second quarter. Overall, the Lakers won the period 36-18.
That’s when the whistle kept being blown, too.
“The game stopped,” Draymond Green said after the loss. “They got on the free-throw line every time.”
Before Moody’s 3-pointer that gave the Warriors an 11-point lead, they hadn’t been called for a foul in the first four minutes of the second quarter. The Lakers were able to take a free throw in the period. One minute later, Moody was called for a foul.
In the final seven minutes of the first half, the Warriors were called for nine fouls, five more than the Lakers’ four for the entire quarter. The Warriors took one free throw, with 1:42 remaining, and the Lakers shot 15.
When asked how a game being interrupted by fouls and free throws can affect a team, Green offered one word.
“Frustrating,” he said.
Steph Curry agreed with Green’s assessment of the game stopping and the lack of flow hurting the Warriors, but offered other reasons as well.
“The way that they try to defend us, when the game stops that is not in our favor, so just got to understand the momentum,” Curry said. “In a game with two different styles of play, it all matters.
“There was a turnover where me and Klay [Thompson] had a little miscommunication in transition, and then the barrage of whistles and all that stuff changed momentum quickly. That was really the point where they felt like they had life and they finished out the quarter strong. It carried over into the second half, so we have to respond.”
Steve Kerr also believes the Warriors lost their cool during the team’s second-quarter collapse.
As part of their nine fouls, the Warriors were hit with two technical fouls, one from both Greens — Draymond and JaMychal — to go along with a flagrant foul from Moses Moody. They also committed nine turnovers that turned into 15 points for the Lakers.
“At that point in the mid-second quarter, we had control of the game, we were in pretty good shape,” Kerr said. “That’s when we lost our poise. … You’re on the road going up against a great team, a great defensive team in particular, you know the crowd is going to be into it, you got to be more poised than us were.”
The Lakers in the playoffs have attempted 213 free throws. Their opponents have shot 160. The charity stripe is their golden ticket, and it was again against the Warriors in Game 3.
Although the Warriors (22) were only called for one more foul than the Lakers (21), they took 20 fewer free throws. After the first quarter, the Warriors held a seven-point lead and had taken only one fewer free throw than the home team. The Lakers then shot 14 more free throws than the Warriors in the second quarter and 10 more than them in the third quarter.
The defending champion Warriors put up 17 free throws and made 12. The Lakers let it go 37 times at the free-throw line and made 28 of their attempts.
Whether it’s a conspiracy or just the way it goes, the Warriors in their two losses this series to the Lakers have gone 17-of-23 shooting free throws. The Lakers in those two games, have gone 53 of 65 from the line.
So, is there anything the Warriors, considering how the game is being called, can do to get more free throws going forward?
“I don’t know,” Green said. “I think we’re going to the rim. Maybe we can, maybe we can’t. We’ll see.”
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The Warriors had 44 points in the paint, two fewer than the Lakers’ 46. But the latter shot 20 more chances at free points.
While that area of the game put the Warriors in a major hole, they added to the digging with their propensity to turn the ball over. The Warriors had 26 assists — their magic number is 30 — and 19 turnovers, leading to 27 points for the Lakers.
There was more than one way the Lakers found freebies to take a series lead. The Warriors have to clean up one area with their own focus, and appear to be searching for answers in solving the free-throw problem before a giant Game 4 awaits them Monday night.
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