LeBron James: Lakers Attacking Paint & Getting To Free Throw Line Is ‘What We Do’
LeBron James, Lakers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James looked like a man on the mission against the Phoenix Suns given what the game meant for the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff hopes.

The Suns and Lakers came into the afternoon the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds, respectively, but it was the former that would take home a 123-113 win. Los Angeles now faces an even tougher uphill climb to get out of the Play-In Tournament.

James did his best in what ended up being another failed comeback attempt, scoring 28 points to go along with 12 assists, seven rebounds, two steals and one block. However, James only got four free throw attempts despite multiple forays into the painted area.

The Lakers as a team only went to the line eight times, which was a season-low, compared to 19 free throw attempts for the Suns.

The King was clearly frustrated with the lack of calls and also admitted that the Lakers aren’t built to be a high-volume 3-point shooting team.

“That’s who we are,” James said. “But a lot of people…a lot of coaches, a lot of teams is like that’s all the Lakers do is get to the free throw line. It’s like this narrative out there that that’s all we do is get to the free throw line.

“I mean, we have attackers, that’s what we do. We have attackers, yeah, we shoot the ball from the perimeter but we’re not even shooting 40, 50 threes a game. We’re not that team. We don’t have the luxury of being that team, so we’re getting to the paint that’s what we’re really good at. To have eight free throw attempts is definitely not us. I know definitely I got hit a couple of times going to the paint tonight that wasn’t called, but it is what it is.”

L.A. doesn’t have the requisite shooters to constantly bomb away from distance, so they rely on the free throw line to make up the disparity. Players like Anthony Davis and James make their living in the paint and thus draw contact more often than not.

Inconsistent officiating has hurt the Lakers more than once this season, but James and the rest of the group still need to find ways to overcome it and win games.

Gregg Popovich marvels about LeBron James

LeBron James is one of the last members of the old generation of basketball, though he has company in San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.

Popovich has had the pleasure of competing against James for decades and after their recent game he couldn’t help but marvel at what the Lakers star is doing at his age.

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