Making 6 of 10 free throws isn't all that impressive, but considering Ian Mahinmi's free throw percentage was in the mid-30's, those numbers were pretty sweet on Friday night. Even better was the fact he made five of his last six attempts to foil a hack-a-Ian strategy and put the Chicago Bulls on ice for good.
"Free throws are mainly mental," Mahinmi admitted following the game. "When you go through a rough time and you can't make a free throw, you start thinking about it a lot and that's the thing you don't want to get caught up in doing."
But it sure did help to see the ball go through the hoop.
Apparently, Mahinmi is the Jonathan Bender of practice free throw shooters which keeps his team rooting for him. George Hill mentioned how the team knows Mahinmi will come around at the line because they see him in practice and he regularly makes more than 85 out of 100 attempts. Others saw him make 21 in a row on Thursday.
Did it help to have Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau alter his mental state by forcing him to the line late in the game?
"I tried not to think about them fouling me," Mahinmi said. "It's one free throw at a time, stick to my routine. I shoot hundreds of free throws everyday, so it's repetition and just let it fly."
Mahinmi's big play down the stretch, not only at the free throw line but around the rim, as well, helped the Pacers secure their fourth consecutive win. Since they currently own the tie breaker over the Miami Heat, the Pacers also hold the 8th spot in the East.
Wins by Charlotte and Boston kept things tight for the Pacers while losses by Miami, Brooklyn and Detroit helped. The night-to-night grind still has five weeks to go. Here are the key games on Saturday night.
- Indiana at New York, 7:30 pm ET
- Sacramento at Miami, 7:30 pm ET
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