LeBron James draws fouls.
It’s part of his skill as a basketball player — he’s quick enough to get to the rim, strong enough to finish through contact. LeBron averages 7.3 free throw attempts a game (eighth highest in the league) and has a very healthy free throw rate of .42 (percentage of free throw attempts per field goal attempts).
But LeBron has now gone back-to-back games without getting a free throw attempt, something very rare and pointed out by Royce Young at Eye on Basketball.
The game Sunday was the first time since 2009 LeBron hadn’t attempted a free throw in a game. But now with it happening two straight times, this is the first time it’s happened consecutively since 2003, LeBron’s rookie season.
“Very surprised,” James told reporters about it.
There’s a logical reason for this (as Young notes) — LeBron has ditched the mask covering his broken nose, apparently feeling it bothered his shot. But without the mask he is shying away from contact (he is still getting to the rim, 9 of his 15 shots against Washington Monday were in the restricted area).
Next up for the Heat are the Nets on Wednesday. I’d be shocked if LeBron doesn’t have a free throw attempt in that game.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.