Did The Lakers’ Grievance Influence The Outcome of Game 4?

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  • The Los Angeles Lakers were awarded 12 more free throws than the Denver Nuggets in Game 4.
  • Los Angeles made 8 more free throws in the game and won it by only six points.
  • LeBron James was awarded 14 free throws in Game 4, four more than his total for the first three games of the series.

The L.A. Lakers complained about LeBron James’ free throw attempts after Game 3. Los Angeles was awarded more free throws than Denver in Game 4. For the first time in the current Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets were charged with more fouls than the Lakers during a game. The Lake Show made 8 more free throws in Game 4 which was two points more than their winning margin of 6 points. LeBron James took 14 free throws in Game 4, four more than his total for the first three games of the series.

Are all these coincidences? Or did the Lakers complaint have a hand in their Game 4 win? You decide, we’ll give you the facts:

Difference in Winning The Game

The Nuggets were called for a total of 28 fouls in Game 4, the most for them in a game during the series. It was also the first time in the 2020 Western Conference Finals where Denver was whistled for more fouls than Los Angeles. The Lakers also made a total of 28 free throws in Game 4, their most in any game this series. L.A.’s 35 free throw attempts in Game 4 were also the most for them since Game 1.

Los Angeles took 12 more free throws than Denver in Game 4, and they made eight more shots from the foul line. The Nuggets made one more field goal than the Lakers in the game and both teams made 10 three-pointers each. But the eight-point difference from the stripe spelled the difference in winning the game.

As for James, he was awarded 14 free throws in Game 4, the second-most for him in the 2020 playoffs and three less than his 17 attempts in Game 3 of the Portland series. It was also four more than his total free throws taken during the first three games of the series. Interestingly (or not?), it came in the game immediately after the Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers presented a case to the NBA regarding LeBron James’ lack of free throw attempts.

Lakers Present Case To NBA

The Lakers presented their case to the NBA after James was awarded only two free throws in Game 3 which the Lakers lost 106-114. Coach Frank Vogel lamented in a Wednesday video conference after practice that despite going to the basket aggressively, the only time James went to the stripe was after a flagrant foul called following an elbow to James’ face by Jamal Murray.

In that game, the Lakers were awarded only 22 free throw attempts, seven fewer than the Nuggets. Denver also made nine more free throws than Los Angeles in Game 3. Again, if we even out foul shooting, the outcome could have been different and the Lakers could’ve been up 3-0 entering Game 4.

But the variance in free throws made in Game 3 wasn’t because Denver shot more foul shots than Los Angeles in the game. The disparity was a result of L.A. shooting poorly from the free throw stripe. The Lakers shot only 63.6% from the charity line and missed a total of eight. Had they made all their foul shots, the game could’ve been theoretically tied and the result could’ve changed.

Odds are Stacked Against Denver

And so now the Lakers are up 3-1 in the series. The Nuggets now find themselves in the bottom of the current oddsboard to win the NBA title at +3300. The Lakers are on top of the four-team list at SportsBetting.ag with their -350. The Miami Heat who lead the Eastern Conference Finals 3-1 are second at +350 while the Boston Celtics are third at +1600.

So props for the Nuggets for having an excellent run in the current postseason. Denver’s Jamal Murray has emerged as a true NBA superstar. He and Nikola Jokic have established themselves as one of the top one-two punches in the NBA. Sure, they’ve dodged two 3-1 bullets already. But the odds are stacked against Denver now.

The Purple and Gold are 36-1 all-time when leading a playoff series 3-1. Although Denver supporters will be quick to point out that they have erased 3-1 leads in the first two rounds of the 2020 NBA playoffs, the reality is that the Nuggets were 0-13 in that situation before this season. If this is the end of the line for Denver, would you say that the Lakers’ grievance helped them win Game 4?

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