Warriors' failures from the free throw line are costing them


LOS ANGELES -- For everything the Warriors expect Draymond Green to do to their defensive miscues and fourth-quarter collapses, he can't alone fix one of their biggest issues that should be a simple part of the game. 

The Warriors have the greatest free throw shooter of all time in Steph Curry. They have the NBA's best free throw shooter this season in Jordan Poole. Right now, as a team, the Warriors are failing from the free throw line and it's catching up to them. 

In Saturday night's 124-116 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors went 9-for-19 from the free throw, an unacceptable 47.4 percent. Meanwhile, the Lakers went 18-for-21, a 38.3 percent difference and a nine-point swing in an eight-point loss. 

The Warriors shot almost as good from long distance (44.1 percent) as they did from the free throw line.

Curry didn't attempt a single free throw. Neither did Klay Thompson. Poole made his only attempt from the charity stripe. 

For Andrew Wiggins, a theme continued for the All-Star: More trouble from the line. He shot just two free throws and missed both of them. Juan Toscano-Anderson, who had a great game off the bench with five points, five rebounds and five assists, led the Warriors with eight free throw attempts. He made only three of them. 

"We have guys coming in every day working on their free throws," Steve Kerr said after the loss. "We have coaches helping them with it. You just have to keep working at it. That stuff tends to come and go.

"I know that when your team is struggling, what happens in this league -- I've seen it a long time, as long as I've been in this league for 30-plus years -- when things are going poorly for you, things tend to go well for the opponent." 

During the Warriors' four-game losing streak, they have shot 67.6 percent from the free throw line. Their opponents have combined to shoot 75 percent, making 18 more free throws than them. 

To bring it back to Saturday night's ugly loss, the Warriors went 3-for-9 on free throw attempts in the second half. The Lakers went 10-for-11. The latter is a winning formula and the former is a losing one. 

"It's very frustrating," Toscano-Anderson said. "I went 3-for-8 today, that's a joke. But I'm not gonna beat myself up on it. I'm a human being, I got good days and I got bad days. I'll go back in the gym, I'll get better. It is what it is." 

The Warriors already have played 64 games this season. There are only 18 more regular-season games to go before the playoffs begin. Part of the issues can be attributed to fatigue. There certainly is a mental component to it, too. 

For Toscano-Anderson, he sees it as more of a mental hurdle than a physical one. 

"I think it's a mental thing," he said. "I missed the first one, probably beat myself up there for a little bit and then it was kind of like a snowball effect. I didn't stop the bleeding from myself, personally. That's a learning lesson for me.

"When I move forward, I'll remember that." 

He's far from the person who should be shouldering the blame, though. Kerr said that Toscano-Anderson changed the game when he came off the bench, and the coach is right. He did all the little things the Warriors needed, and the infleunce that Green and Andre Iguodala have had on him shined bright. 

Wiggins is a different case.

Since the start of February, Wiggins has attempted 23 free throws in 12 games. He has made nine of them. In that 12-game span, he's shooting 36.9 percent on 3-pointers and only 39.1 percent from the line while averaging under two free throws per game. 

Is it mental as JTA mentioned? Are these the yips? Does Wiggins have a physical problem from the line? 

Whatever it is, he has to find the answer. And quickly. 

RELATED: Warriors' road only getting tougher amid ugly losing streak

Curry is shooting 91.8 percent from the line this season. Thompson is shooting 94.3 percent in the 19 games he has played, and Poole leads the league with a 92.7 clip on free throws. 

As a team, however, the Warriors now rank 21st in the NBA with a 76.0 free throw percentage, one spot behind the 20-win Oklahoma City Thunder. That number is even lower at 73.9 percent in their last 10 games, resulting in eight losses.

The Warriors already have plenty of obstacles to tackle with their list of injuries and other issues. The simple parts of the game shouldn't be such an issue, especially a stat that starts with "free." 

It's costing them.

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