CLEVELAND -- Games can be won and lost at the free-throw line, especially in the NBA Playoffs.
But the Cleveland Cavaliers (1-0) proved to be the exception to the rule when despite making only 14 of their 27 attempts from the free-throw line against the Indiana Pacers, they pulled out a 109-108 victory in Game 1 of the opening round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena Saturday.
“I’m not worried about that,” Cavaliers power forward Channing Frye said. “Go shoot some freaking free throws. We’re good. The guys that were missing free throws shoot 90 percent all the time, maybe not in the game, but 90 percent to me.”
Although the Cavaliers missed 13 free throws in Game 1, Frye saw it as a good sign that they were able to draw 25 personal fouls and get to the charity stripe. And Frye wants to see the Cavaliers increase their efforts to drive toward the hoop and earn more trips to the free-throw line.
“They’re good,” Frye said. “They’re going to make them, and I’m not really worried about that part. It’s just getting a feel for the game. I think we need to get more people to the free-throw line, so we need to be more aggressive going to the rack.”
Throughout much of his NBA career, small forward LeBron James has been a been a 70 percent or better shooter from the free-throw line, but during the 2016-2017 regular season, he struggled to the tune of a .674 free-throw percentage.
It was the lowest single-season percentage of his career, and the first time in 10 years that he did not bury at least 71 percent of his attempts from the free-throw line.
In an effort to improve on those numbers ahead of the postseason, James consulted with teammate Kyle Korver on developing a routine and rhythm at the free-throw line.
Korver is a career 88 percent free-throw shooter.
“Myself and Kyle, we’ve kind of been brainstorming about how I can be more efficient,” James said. “Obviously, Kyle is probably one of the most efficient guys that we have from the free-throw line. I’m a basketball mind. I’m open-minded about trying to find ways that can help my efficiency, so it’s a good start.
“It’s a routine that we’re going to stick with.”