The Los Angeles Lakers crawled themselves back into their series with the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 99-96 home win on Friday night. The victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals put the series at 2-1 with the Thunder still holding the advantage.
But the big story Friday came at the free throw line, where the Lakers hit an astonishing 41 of 42 shots from the charity stripe. In fact, both teams were outstanding from the line, as Oklahoma City hit 26 of 28 free throws as well.
But Los Angeles was simply incredible from the line and it got them the win.
Kobe Bryant led the way by hitting all 18 of his free throws, while Andrew Bynum hit 11 of 12 and Pau Gasol hit all four of his attempts. Metta World Peace, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill all chipped in by going two-for-two. Bryant’s 18-for-18 performance was not a record for the most free throws made without a miss. That mark is held by Dirk Nowitzki who hit all 24 of his attempts in a playoff game last season.
All-in-all the Lakers made a ridiculous 97.6 percent of their free throws.
Bryant led all scorers with 36 points, while adding seven rebounds, six assists and two steals, with just two turnovers. Pau Gasol had 12 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two blocks, while Andrew Bynum added 15 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and three blocks.
Meanwhile the Thunder were outstanding from the line as well. James Harden hit 11 of 12, Russell Westbrook hit seven of eight, Kevin Durant hit on all six of his attempts and Kendrick Perkins knocked in both of his charity shots.
The teams combined to make 67 of 70 free throws which was good for an astonishing 95.7 percent. And they say NBA players can’t hit free throws.
Game 4 is Saturday night at the Staples Center.