The Golden State Warriors lost a highly entertaining Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers by a score of 117-112. A big reason for the Warriors loss was the Lakers 29 to 6 advantage in free-throw attempts, a deficit that head coach Steve Kerr is weary of going forward, reports The Athletic's Anthony Slater.
“Not a surprise,” Kerr said. “But (the free-throw number) is a huge disparity and we need to bring that down.”
Steve Kerr understands the Lakers are a much bigger, more physical team than the Warriors, and expects them to get to the free-throw line. However, he suggests that is just a challenge the Warriors will have to overcome if they want to come out on top after this series.
Despite the free-throw deficit, the Warriors had plenty of opportunities to win Game 1, culminating in a possession down 115-112 late in the fourth quarter. Jordan Poole ended up getting a wide open look from beyond the 3-point arc, although he made the attempt a few feet farther than he needed to be. He missed the shot, Dennis Schroder grabbed the rebound, and the Lakers essentially sealed the victory.
Going into Game 2, the Warriors are not in unfamiliar territory, as they limped out to an 0-2 deficit in just the last round vs. the Sacramento Kings. However, they lost the first two contests on the road in round one, so it will be a much harder hole to dig out of if they go down 0-2 and have to head to Los Angeles. Based on regular season precedent, they are not a very good road team, so Game 2 now becomes a pivotal affair for Golden State.
As the Warriors prepare for Game 2, Steve Kerr will undoubtedly be putting an emphasis on limiting the Lakers free-throw attempts. If they are able to narrow that gap, they will have a much better chance of evening the series.