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Lakers’ Carmelo Anthony reveals reason for free throw pump-fake

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In his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Carmelo Anthony confused his teammates, the Golden State Warriors, and just about everybody at the Staples Center and watching at home when he made the curious choice to pump-fake on a free throw attempt.

On his second shot of that trip to the line with the Lakers up by nine and 1:24 remaining in the third quarter, Anthony began his free throw motion, only to stop midway, causing nearly every player on the court to commit a lane violation.

The refs deemed that a Lakers player stepped in first, negating Melo’s opportunity to take a mulligan. It was his only trip to the line for the game.

Anthony — who scored nine points on 3-of-9 shooting — did not do postgame media. The Lakers were off on Wednesday. However, following practice on Thursday, Melo finally had the opportunity to explain the blooper.

“That was funny as hell,” he admitted. “It wasn’t really a pump fake. See I didn’t really see the whole thing. I went up and the ball hit my forehead, so if I’d have continued, I would’ve been an airball. So I was like, ‘I’m not taking the airball.’ So I’d rather take the violation than the airball. It’s the little things that people don’t see within the game.”

When the Lakers did actually release the ball, they had all sorts of issues. Los Angeles shot 9-of-19 from the charity stripe in their 121-114 loss, compared to a 25-of-30 performance from the Warriors. Anthony Davis was stellar on both ends, except for his 2-of-7 mark from the line.

Melo jokes aside, this is a legitimate problem for the Lakers, who finished 28th in free throw percentage each of the past two seasons. Both Davis and Russell Westbrook have seen their accuracy from the line dramatically decline in recent seasons.