In case you missed it, last Saturday night the Bucks beat a very shorthanded Magic team by a score of 96 to 85. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Magic utilized a strategy known informally as Hack-a-Shaq after Shaquille O'Neal. In this game, the victim was Andrew Bogut, who ultimately led the Bucks with sixteen free throw attempts. Unfortunately, he missed eleven of his charity tosses. The rest of the Bucks were off as well, missing a further nine attempts combined. All told, the Bucks went 23 for 43 from the free throw line in the game.
Since I happen to have a bunch of data about free throws lying around, I thought it would be fun to look at other recent games in which a team missed twenty or more free throws. If you follow Brew Hoop on Twitter, you may have noticed a note after Saturday's game about the Bucks being only the fourteenth team since the NBA lockout to miss twenty free throws in a game. As the original author of said note, I will fess up to miscounting: teams are 11-3 when missing twenty free throws. Regardless, fourteen sounds like a nice number to review.
- December 4, 2010 - Milwaukee (23/43 on free throws) defeats Orlando 96-85
Primary culprits: Andrew Bogut (5/16), Brandon Jennings (6/10), John Salmons (2/6)
- January 29, 2010 - Cleveland (23/44) defeats Indiana 94-73
Primary culprits: LeBron James (10/17), Shaquille O'Neal (6/12)
The Pacers attempted just five free throws in this contest.
- January 23, 2010 - Cleveland (20/40) defeats Oklahoma City 100-99
Primary culprits: Shaquille O'Neal (6/15), LeBron James (13/19)
This may have been the start of the worst week of team free throw shooting in NBA history.
- November 2, 2007 - Charlotte (22/43) defeats Milwaukee 102-99
Primary culprits: Emeka Okafor (3/13), Jason Richardson (2/6)
The Bobcats may have been suffering Opening Night jitters. True fact: Jake Voskuhl managed to grab a rebound in his two seconds on the court.
- March 23, 2007 - Utah (17/37) loses to LA Clippers 104-72
Primary culprit: Paul Millsap (5/14)
- January 2, 2006 - New York (32/54) defeats Phoenix 140-133 in triple-overtime
Primary culprit: Eddy Curry (8/14)
The Knicks didn't struggle shooting so much as they had a bunch of shots to miss. The Suns played nine players, four of whom fouled out. Phoenix had a shot to win at the end of the second overtime, but Irishman Pat Burke, the sixth option on the floor, missed the potential game-winner.
- December 11, 2005 - Detroit (25/45) defeats LA Clippers 109-101
Primary culprit: Ben Wallace (7/22)
At tip-off, the two teams had a combined 28-7 record. Wallace shot his career average from the line this year: 41.6%.
- January 26, 2005 - Miami (29/49) defeats Toronto 111-96
Primary culprit: Shaquille O'Neal (7/20)
- November 19, 2004 - Miami (22/44) defeats Utah 107-105 in overtime
Primary culprits: Shaquille O'Neal (2/10), Dwyane Wade (15/21)
Did you know? This is not the last time Shaq will grace this list.
- March 15, 2004 - LA Lakers (28/48) defeats Orlando 113-110 in overtime
Primary culprits: Shaquille O'Neal (9/18), Karl Malone (3/8)
- December 1, 2001 - Golden State (16/38) loses to Dallas 111-82
Primary culprits: Adonal Foyle (1/8), Chris Mills (3/7)
The Warriors shot under 40%, turned the ball over 20 times, and lost by nearly 30 at home. Other than that, it was a good night.
- February 25, 2001 - LA Lakers (29/53) defeats Orlando 106-100
Primary culprits: Shaquille O'Neal (9/21), Robert Horry (2/8)
My reaction to this box score: who is Mike Penberthy?
- November 13, 2000 - LA Clippers (13/33) loses to Dallas 90-76
Primary culprits: Everyone not named Brian Skinner (2/2)
The Clippers' 39.4% from the line is the worst shooting percentage by a team with 30 attempts since 1986-1987.
- November 19, 1999 - LA Lakers (43/64) defeats Chicago 103-95
Primary culprits: Shaquille O'Neal (19/31)
That is a ton of free throws, but nowhere near a record (note: the real record was set in 1949). Still, looking at the box score, the Bulls were well-positioned to play Hack-a-Shaq. I'll admit to not following the NBA closely back then, but who are those guys?