The Los Angeles Lakers claim they do not work on flopping.
Los Angeles picks up the fewest personal fouls per game and draws the most free throws. They averaged 26.2 free throw attempts per game in the regular season, compared to a league-worst 20.2 for Golden State.
Their ability to pick up fouls has stood out in this series, given the diametrically-opposed frequencies with which both teams get to the line.
The Lakers have a host of players, especially Austin Reaves, Dennis Schroeder and D’Angelo Russell, who have a knack at picking up fouls while jolting their head back.
In Game 5, there was a particularly egregious example when Reaves acted like he was hit in the head, but was clearly not.
For their part, the Lakers are denying that they work on flopping. After the Game 5 loss, LeBron James was asked about their approach and whether they actively flop.
“Our coaching staff and us players, we don’t work on flopping,” James said. “That’s not even a part of our game. Our game is to attack, attack the paint. We don’t mind physical contact. We actually like the contact and we don’t shy away from it. It’s just not a team that goes out there looking for flopping opportunities. That’s just not us. There’s actually never been any team in my 20 years where we’ve been a flopping team.”
Here is a relevant video related to that quote:
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham concurred with that assessment.
“We don’t teach flopping.” Ham said. “We teach our players to play downhill and attack the paint and be forceful.”
The comment was pretty clearly directed at Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who said the Lakers excel at “gamesmanship,” to accrue fouls.
It’s a bit of light verbal jabbing before the series heads back to Los Angeles for a pivotal Game 6, when the Warriors again try to stay alive.