OKC put L.A. on the line 42 times, and the Lakers made a staggering 41 of them. That 97.6 percent clip became the second best foul shot rate in NBA history for a team that shot at least 30 free throws. The Lakers’ accuracy rendered the Thunder’s 23 fast break points and 22 points off 15 L.A. turnovers pointless.
“We fouled too many times,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks after Game 3. “That’s the bottom line. Forty-two is a high number (of free throws). That’s more than they average, a lot more than they average. We were using our hands and fouling too much. We’ve got to do a better job. Forty-two free throws and 41 makes, it’s hard to win on your opponents home court when you do that. We have to do a better job of not fouling, defending, rebounding and getting out and running.”
With big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, the Lakers have the ability to methodically burn the shot clock before getting high-percentage shot attempts from in close. In Game 3, that attack, coupled with mounting foul calls, was too much for the Thunder to overcome.
We’ll see if Game 4 will be any different.
“We need to try to not let them get out in transition too much,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said. “I though they did there for a stretch (in Game 3). Having 23 fast-break points is kind of tough. If we can keep them playing half-court basketball, we’ll have a better chance. They’re getting out after our turnovers and they’re getting easy baskets after our turnovers. That’s been the difference a lot of these ballgames.”