If there's another close game in this series, the Wizards' free-throw shooting puts them at a distinct disadvantage. It used to be just Nene who had trouble, but the problem has gotten contagious.
In Friday's 85-63 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 3, the Wizards missed 10 of 21 foul shots. They missed all 10 between the first and third quarters, when they trailed by 15 going into the fourth. That's the difference between a five-point deficit and what turned into a blowout.
"We got to make them. We work on them," said John Wall, the Wizards' best foul shooter who went 3-for-6. "All you do is go through the repetition you go through in practice and just knock them down in the game."
Nene shot 2-for-6. Trevor Ariza went 2-for-4. For the series, the Wizards are 38-for-64, or 59.3%.
Ever since the All-Star break in mid-February, the Wizards have struggled at the stripe. Wall shot 84% up to that point with 52 games played, but after the break to the end of the regular season he shot just 73%. Marcin Gortat went from 70% to 66% post-All-Star. Bradley Beal dipped from 81% to 77%. Nene dropped from 60% to 46%.
So if Nene is on the floor in a close game the strategy would be simple: Foul him. For context, Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets, a notoriously bad foul shooter, put up 54.7% in the regular season and 62.5% in the playoffs.