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Shaq sets record with 0-11 free-throw futility

Published Dec. 10, 2000|Updated Sep. 28, 2005

There were his usual clunkers off the rim, and several other tries actually were close to the mark but spun in and out of the hoop.

When it was over, Shaquille O'Neal had replaced Wilt Chamberlain's record for free-throw futility in a game.

Eleven times, O'Neal furrowed his brow, remembered to bend his knees and tried to arc the ball into basket. None made it.

"I was probably trying too hard," O'Neal said Friday night after his zero free throws was a key factor as Seattle beat the Lakers 103-95.

That gave the Lakers' big center, the game's most dominant player, the dubious distinction of shooting the most free throws in an NBA game without making one.

Chamberlain, who also dominated the court during his day and was bad from the line, went 0-for-10 against Detroit on Nov. 4, 1960.

A 53 percent career free-throw shooter who has slipped to 38 percent this season, O'Neal recently turned to a former player from Louisiana State, his former school, for help. Ed Palubinskas, who set an LSU career free-throw record of 87.5 percent more than 25 years ago, has devised a program to change O'Neal's approach.

"I just have to concentrate a little bit more. I always make them in practice, so I just have to make them in a game," said O'Neal, whose free-throw woes overshadowed his 26-point, 17-rebound performance against the SuperSonics.

"Obviously his free-throw shooting really hurt us," coach Phil Jackson said. "Shaq slipped back into a position where he was shooting well for a couple of games and now fell back again."

O'Neal, who doesn't like to talk about his free-throw shooting, has often said he can make them when he has to. As the Lakers rolled to the NBA title last season, he seemed to do just that at most critical times.

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