Colin Cowherd: “The Lakers are playing better now, LeBron is healthy, AD is healthy, and Austin Reaves has emerged as a real offensive threat. As LeBron returns and Austin Reaves gets increased minutes, all three of the Lakers' best players are attack the basket guys. AD, LeBron, and Austin Reaves initiate contact, so the Lakers are going to get to the free throw line – in fact, they lead the league because they initiate contact. Here are the teams that shoot the most free throws, do you really think the league is rooting for the Kings? NO, they have players that initiate contact. Miami initiates contact. I don’t think the Lakers are a championship team because they’ll fall apart physically, and I don’t think they can win three or four straight series, but I also think if they opened up with Denver they’d beat them. They’d get to the free throw line and they’re a better defensive team. Just get ready for the conspiracy theories because if they end up playing a team like Phoenix in the playoffs they’d have double the free throws. If Phoenix does beat them you realize they’d do it shooting half of the free throws? Golden State settles for threes, and have very little front court scoring. If the Warriors played the Lakers they’d shoot far fewer free throws. If Sacramento played Golden State, because they initiate contact they would get to the free throw line far more than the Warriors. Here come the conspiracy theorists if the Lakers can make the playoffs.” (Full Segment Above)
Watch Colin Cowherd discuss the storylines surrounding the suddenly red hot Los Angeles Lakers, as their insane free throw differential versus their opponents has been spurring grumblings about their favoritism with the officials.
Entering last week, it was reported the Lakers have a +411 free throw differential to their opponents, first in the NBA, with second-place Sacramento all the way down at +193. On average, the Lakers are attempting 5.6 more free throws per game than their opponents.
The revelations were coupled with Phoenix head coach Monty Williams complaining about the officiating after their close loss to the Lakers, and implied that his team was being sabotaged by the referees.
Check out the segment above as Colin tamps down the ‘conspiracy theories’ trying to explain why the Lakers have gotten so many calls from referees this season, as it's always been accustomed in NBA fan circles to baselessly assume that the league clandestinely elevates big-market franchises deeper into the playoffs to boost television ratings.