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Clippers (and Lou Williams) count on free throws

first_img For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory In something of a plot twist, Lou Williams was ejected for the first time in 878 career games Tuesday against the Washington Wizards. He was banished during a timeout for protesting foul calls – or lack thereof – with 34 seconds left in the Clippers’ 125-118 loss, a stunning fall-from-ahead result that snapped a five-game winning streak.Before being tossed, the smooth-operating guard, who was deemed the “coolest player in the NBA” earlier this year by GQ magazine, grew so frustrated that he picked up just the 15th technical foul of his 14-year career (and the second of the three-game trip).Williams is averaging 5.9 free throws per contest (and making an average of 5.5 of them), but he shot (and made) only two free-throw attempts Tuesday – both in the second quarter.Lou Williams ejected after a double technical late in the 4th quarter pic.twitter.com/G2ViAnGuG9 TWO STITCHES, BUT HE’S OKSecond-year guard Tyrone Wallace needed two stitches to close the gash following a head-to-head collision with Bradley Beal on Tuesday.Related Articles Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error After the game, Rivers told reporters Wallace did not suffer a concussion.“I don’t know how, he clearly has a hard head,” Rivers said. “I thought both were out, but Bradley makes a 3 right after and Ty comes in and tells me he can play.”Sindarius Thornwell entered the game in Wallace’s place and made two free throws while Wallace was getting stitched up. What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 And they’re capitalizing, making a league-best 24.2 per game while shooting 82.2 percent from the line, which is third in the NBA.“Free throws are the key to this game, just to knock them down,” forward Tobias Harris (who’s shooting 81 percent from the line) said before his team upset the Golden State Warriors last week, when the Clippers made 30 of 34 free-throw attempts.“Luckily,” Harris added, “we’ve been in some spots where we’ve made these free throws. We have good shooters, so we’re supposed to make them.”Certainly, Danilo Gallinari and Williams have been. They’re shooting 95.5 and 94 percent, respectively, and are third and fourth in the NBA among players on pace to make at least 125 free throws, according to ESPN.com. Together, they’ve accounted for 178 points from the charity stripe.But against Washington, Gallinari had only three looks from the line, making all three. The Wizards, conversely, shot 32 of 39 from the line, with 26 of those attempts coming in the second half (see: a frustrated Williams).Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.The thing is, Washington’s free-throw production against the Clippers wasn’t much of a plot twist. The Clippers are allowing opponents to attempt more free throws – 27.8 per game – than any other team in the league, according to NBA.com/stats. (Opponents are helping out by making only 77.8 percent of their free throws against the Clippers, which ranks 17th in the NBA.)The surprising Memphis Grizzlies (11-5), who will visit for Friday’s 12:30 p.m. matinee at Staples Center, are ninth in the NBA at getting to the line (24.8 attempts per game) while allowing 23.2 free-throw attempts – and playing the league’s best defense, giving up a league-low 100 points per game.So, ball movement aside, when Rivers mentions that his often overly charitable Clippers must “score the way we score,” that includes free throws. — The Render (@TheRenderNBA) November 21, 2018As a team, the Clippers attempted only 18 free throws, 11 of them in the first half. It marked the second-fewest free throws they’ve shot all season, trailing only their previous game against Washington, when they went 8 for 13 from the line but won anyway.So when Coach Doc Rivers talked to reporters postgame Tuesday about the fact that his 11-6 Clippers “got away from what we do” in the second half, that included getting to the free-throw line.The Clippers – who set a franchise record Oct. 26 for most free throws made without a miss in a single game by going 26 for 26 in a victory over the Houston Rockets – are shooting 29.4 free throws per game, which ranks second in the league. Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters last_img read more