James, who finished with a game-high 30 points, did not shoot a single free throw in the game against the Grizzlies. James’ 27 field goal attempts without attempting a single free throw was the most shots he’s ever taken without earning a trip to the line, according to ESPN.
James brought evidence to the table when discussing the lack off calls, pointing to his beat up arms.
“I’m living in the paint and if you look at my arm right here, these are four or five [scratches] that happened the last two games, and they weren’t called at all,” James said.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel echoed his star’s sentiments.
“It’s frustrating,” Vogel told reporters. “LeBron’s going to the basket all night long. He took nine 3s, but he’s in the paint all night long. … When your guy’s attacking the basket the way he is and getting zero free throw attempts, it’s something that can be frustrating.”
LeBron James’ Laker Teammates Speak out on No-Calls
LeBron is averaging 5.93 free throws per game this season, the lowest in his career. Rockets star James Harden leads the NBA in free throw attempts, with more than 14 per game.
James’ teammates pointed to the former MVP’s bruising style of play and physically imposing stature as reasons for the inconsistent officiating.
“Someone of his caliber that attacks the basket, he doesn’t really try to fool you and try to grab your arm a la [James] Harden or everyone,” Jared Dudley said. “He just tries to overpower you, and it’s tough sometimes to get that [call].”
Lakers guard Danny Green agreed.
“He should at least get eight to 10 free throws a game,” Green said. “No doubt about it, how he attacks the rim, attacks the basket. It’s a physical game, and obviously he doesn’t flop. So it’s hard for refs to see and hard to referee him. But it’s stuff that most guys get that he doesn’t get because of how big and strong he is compared to everybody else.”
LeBron James Not Slowing Down
Despite the lack of trips to the line, the Lakers are far from struggling. The team is 14-2, which is the best start for any team James has been on.
“We’re just playing some really good basketball,” James said. “Not only at home, but on the road as well. We feel real good about where we are today, but we don’t feel great about where we want to be, and that’s OK because it’s a long season and we want to get better. We want to continue to improve, but it’s a good start for us. But we’re not satisfied at all, but we’re extremely excited about the process.”
As for the fouls, James is not worried about it going forward — especially if the Lakers keep up their winning ways.
“It’s been a theme for me, personally,” James said. “But that can’t stop me. It didn’t stop me tonight. No matter what I got to continue to go, but being able to get to the free throw line is something that allows our defense to get in good position. It sets our defense. It slows the game down at times. It gives us a good rhythm. It relaxes me as well. So I know I’m getting hit, but at the end of the day, I just got to keep going.”
The Lakers have a day off before facing the Spurs on Monday in San Antonio.