INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – Kyle Korver didn’t really want to talk about one of his most significant contributions to the Cavs’ Game 1 victory following their shootaround Monday morning leading up to Game 2.
And it wasn’t his lone field goal attempt and make in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 109-108 win.
“I don’t even want it to be a story to be honest with you,” Korver said sheepishly.
Prior to the playoffs, Korver worked with LeBron James to modify his free throw mechanics after James shot .674 from the charity stripe during the regular season, a career low for him.
“I think you’ve got to give LeBron a lot of credit for being open to changing something,” Korver said.
The most visible change for James is that he didn’t squat as low before shooting the ball and his left foot is lined up behind his right foot instead of parallel to each other in front of the free throw line.
James made 6 of 9 freebies Saturday with his modified stance and rhythm, a lower percentage that his season average, but the fact that James sought help from Korver speaks volumes.
“That’s one of the things I really respect most about him the most since coming here is just how hard he works and how hard he prepares, how open he is to being coached,” Korver said. “It just says a lot about him.”
Korver said that he pays attention during games while on the bench to his teammates shots and mechanics, but he doesn’t just offer advice unsolicited.
“I wait for the right moment,” Korver said.
Maybe Korver can work with more Cavaliers because they were awful from the line as a team Saturday – just 14 of 27.
As for just getting 1 shot attempt in Game 1, Korver isn’t sweating his lack of looks, not with the supporting cast he has.
“We have guys here who are able to really take advantage of that,” Korver said. “It makes me feel a little better about being taken out. There’s a bunch of us here that’s our job. We’re here to help those guys be great. That’s what we do.”
Korver’s ability to space the floor as a threat on the perimeter helps to create lanes for James and whoever else is on the floor to attack the rim.
“Kyle’s presence on the floor doesn’t always result in how many shot attempts he gets,” James said. “When he’s on the floor, he’s a threat. So that’s one defender that we have to worry about. Because he’s a threat, you have to pay attention to him so even when he’s on the floor, no matter how many shots he’s getting, he’s doing what needs to be done to help us win.”
Where’s The D – Although the Cavs won Game 1 to extend their home Eastern Conference playoff win streak to 12, they still allowed 108 points to the Pacers and nearly blew another 10-point fourth quarter lead.
James maintained Monday morning that he is not alarmed despite being outscored by 7 in the final quarter and the team shooting just 6 of 18 from the field.
“We just want to win, man. I don’t care,” James said. “You can have a fourth quarter lead and lose or you can have a fourth quarter lead and win or you can be down and win. I just want to win the game. I don’t care what happens. We could be up 100 points and we win by 1 I don’t really care. It’s 1 game, that’s all that matters and that’s what we’re here to do.”
Over their last 16 games, including Game 1, the Cavs are giving up an average of 111.6 points per game.
Condolences – Because James is in the midst of his personal social media blackout during the post season, he did not post a message of sympathy to Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas following the tragic death of his sister, Chyna, Saturday in an automobile accident. Instead, James used part of his media availability Monday morning to express his condolences.
“My deepest sympathy and prayers goes up to him and his [family],” James said.
Thomas played Sunday and scored a game-high 33 points in the Celtics’ 4-point loss to Chicago at home.
“That had to be a tough situation for him just going out and playing the game, and obviously, who cares about the game,” James continued. “That’s so silly to even think about basketball when something like that tragic happens. Obviously he’s a strong-willed guy…It’s unfortunate that something like that has happened at a time like this where our world has revolved around basketball but like I said who cares about basketball when something like that happens.
“It’s a sick feeling. I don’t have any siblings, but I have some very close people in my life and I can only imagine how that would take your heart away.”