May 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver NuggetsKenneth Faried (35) shoots a free throw against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter of game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Finals Game 2 Decided By A Nuggets Weakness

During the 2013-14 regular season, our Denver Nuggets were not a good free throw shooting team.  The Nuggets finished 4th last in the NBA with a 72.6 percentage from the charity stripe.  Conversely, the San Antonio Spurs finished 4th best in the NBA in free throw shooting percentage (78.5). NBA Finals Game 2 was essentially decided when the Spurs took a page out of the Denver Nuggets handbook to tough losses.

After Manu Ginobli drained two free throws to give the Spurs a two point lead with 8:17 remaining, the unthinkable happened.  Tony Parker, a 81% free throw shooter during the regular season, missed both of his free throws. A benefit of the doubt goes to Mr. Parker for missing the free throws because he did take a good shot to the ribs from Miami Heat’s Mario Chalmers.  Now, let’s fast forward 30 seconds.  Tim Duncan, a 73% free throw shooter during the regular season, misses both of his free throw attempts.  On the ensuing possession, the Miami Heat sink a three pointer to take the lead.  A lead the Heat would never relinquish en route to tying the series at one.

Remember back in late November when Denver Coach Brian Shaw attempted to motivate his struggling Nugget free throw shooters by standing underneath the basket?  Obviously, the Spurs coaching staff will not respond with such a tactic.  How many reporters would line up to take free throws if the Spurs coach did stand under the basket?

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