The Golden State Warriors extended their second-round series at least one further game on Wednesday night, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 121-106 to send the series back to the City of Angels.
Despite the defending champions’ comfortable victory in Game 5, much of the conversation again surrounded the series-defining themes of fouling, free-throws, and the officiating which has led to frustration for both teams at different points.
A hypocritical Darvin Ham has left fans confused following pre and post-game comments on Wednesday night’s Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers had over double the amount of free-throws across the first four games, with the 103-51 attempt differential eventually leaving Steve Kerr frustrated after his team suffered a 104-101 loss in Game 4 to go down 3-1.
Golden State’s head coach even went as far as to suggest that Los Angeles play with a lot of ‘gamesmanship’, and that they were rewarded for flops after numerous illegal screens were called on Monday night.
Before heading out for Game 5 at Chase Center, Lakers coach Darvin Ham responded to Kerr by stating, “I just control what I can control”, and that “I don’t go down the rabbit hole of blaming officials.”
The fouling and free-throw aspect was much less of a difference-maker in Game 5, with the Warriors committing one extra foul and both teams shooting 15 free-throws apiece. There’s no coincidence that Golden State found things much easier as a result, building an 11-point lead late in the first-half that was never truly threatened thereafter.
Ham’s perspective certainly changed in the aftermath, believing the Lakers played the way they always play before adding, “I don’t know what’s a foul anymore.” That sure seems like going down the rabbit hole of blaming officials…
It’s clear that both coaches are trying to play a game of cat-and-mouse, knowing full well that this series is well and truly being settled by the disparity at the charity stripe. The Lakers have shot an average of 17 more free-throws in each of their three wins, while the Warriors have taken one less attempt total across both of their victories.