Free throws Rumors

In the immediate aftermath, Thursday was a stinger. The Trail Blazers had a chance to clinch a playoff berth but came up one point short in Phoenix after the final five seconds produced two missed free throws and a controversial foul call that helped the Suns score the winning points. “We had it, man. We had it,” a dejected Damian Lillard said after Phoenix pulled off a 118-117 thriller. “The thing that hurts the most is we had control of the game and we let it slip. We had a chance to take that game and we didn’t take it, and we needed it.”
Barrett’s percentage from the stripe has jumped from 61.4 percent last year to 73.6 percent this season. He was fouled on a 3-point attempt and calmly sank all three freebies to tie the score with 37.0 seconds remaining in regulation in Friday’s overtime win over the Grizzlies. “I’ve been watching it all year. And I think his confidence is coming from all the extra time that he’s putting in,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of Barrett after the game. “I think he’s showing his growth and maturity. He didn’t get rattled. Things weren’t going our way. Just stay the course, fought his way through it.”
On a night in which they shot a franchise-record-low-tying five free throws, the Mavericks certainly couldn’t have counted on attacking the Clippers’ interior more aggressively in the closing minutes and getting the benefit of foul calls. Dallas attempted two fourth-quarter free throws. “I’m not going to say anything,” Luka Doncic said when asked about Dallas’ paltry free throw total. “I’m not trying to get fined. That’s how they called it today; hopefully they call better next game.”
Storyline: Officiating Complaints
Williamson and Vinson have worked daily after practices and shootarounds to refine the quirks in the 20-year-old’s shot and put a foundation in place that’ll allow him to shoot with confidence. Zion shot 61 percent from the free-throw line during his first 10 games of this season, and it was evident he still had a lot of work to do. But as of late, his shot is starting to improve. Over the past 14 games, he’s shooting 76.6 percent on free throws with 7.6 attempts per game. “It’s the repetition with Fred,” Williamson said. “Me and Coach Fred are always in the lab working. He’s always coming up with small things about consistency and it’s really giving me confidence with the free throws. I’m trying to go out there and make every shot feel the same.”

Kings upset with refs after loss to Heat

In a back-and-forth game, the Kings shot just 5-of-11 from the free throw line. They certainly could have hit more than five, but let’s get back to those 11 attempts. The Heat’s Jimmy Butler hit 14-of-16 from the stripe on his own. Overall, the Heat outshot the Kings 26-11 at the line … in a one point game. “One player on their team made more free throws than our whole team shot,” coach Luke Walton said. “It’s going to be hard to win when that’s happening. We stayed in attack mode, that’s all we can do.”
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