Warriors’ Kevon Looney unbothered by recent free throw woes

Warriors’ Looney unbothered by recent woes at free throw line originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO – Eleven days after missing four free throws in the final three minutes and plodding off the court with his face covered in disgust at accelerating the Warriors’ demise, Kevon Looney got what he wanted Sunday night.

He was back at the free-throw line. Three attempts.

He missed all three.

The Dallas Mavericks did not deliberately send Looney to the line, as the Denver Nuggets did in the late stages of their comeback on Feb. 16, but the failure put his poor free-throw shooting back under the microscope.

“I knew it was going to happen one day,” Looney told NBC Sports Bay Area late Sunday night, referring to Denver’s decision to intentionally foul him. “It happens to most big men, so I knew it would probably happen to me.

“I wanted it to happen again. I looked forward to it. I wanted to go back to the line tonight. I mean, that’s free money. I’m just mad that I missed them.”

After shooting 32-of-39 (82.1 percent) from the line over a 26-game stretch between Dec. 18 and Feb. 9, Looney is 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) over the last six games after the 0-of-3 he put up in the 107-101 loss to Dallas.

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Such inaccuracy will make Looney an offensive liability, especially in late-game situations – even though the Warriors would retain possession on off-ball fouls in the final two minutes. As soon as the ball hits his hands, there’s a good chance he’ll be fouled.

Looney made three late-game trips to the line against Denver, missing the first two (2:50 remaining), making the next two (2:29) and missing the last two when the ball fouled him with 1:18 remaining. Most coaches will their chances and foul a player who misses four of his free throws.

“I know I can make free throws,” Looney said confidently. “I practice them all the time and I make them all the time. I’m going to keep practicing them and I believe I’m going to keep making them.

“If they want to foul me, I want the chance to go to the line.”

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When Draymond Green is cleared to play, which the Warriors hope is a matter of weeks, he’ll be on the court in the final moments of tight games.

Until then, there might be moments when Looney’s interior presence will keep him on the floor. Not always – he left with 3:54 remaining on Sunday – but enough for opposing coaches to notice.

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