I'm not sure why I didn't write about this yet, but last night's Cavs game was a case of the Cavs and Wizards picking up right where they left off - a tense nail-biter with the Cavs coming out on top. LeBron was great as always, filling the statsheet up with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks while Larry Hughes did as well (27/9/5/2 steals). The best part about how they played: Great rebounding from the 2nd quarter on, leading to a 20-board advantage for the game; and solid defense for most of the game. The worst part: Free-throw shooting.
The Cavs should be in or winning at a great clip with at least 6 players who can really haul in boards on a consistent basis - LeBron, Hughes, Gooden, Z, Vareajo, and Marshall. Between the 6 of them, that's an average of about 45 rebounds a night - more than most teams get. Factor in that they're always crashing on both sides of the floor, and you realize just how difficult it is for other teams - there's almost always four good rebounders on the floor for the Cavs at a time (if not five), while most teams have 1-2 - at best, three. But if you can't hit free-throws, you can't put games away. And the tighter the game, the more fouls there will be at the end of the game... and if you can't hit them, it gets even closer. The Cavs shot 50% from the line last night. They shot almost 48% from the field. Why would teams let them take shots that are worth 2-3 points each at a 48% clip when they can let them shoot for one at a 50% rate?
They won't. It's time to start practicing the basics.