Free throws Rumors
Of course, Sochan debuted a one-handed free-throw form on Dec. 19. He had been shooting 45.8% (11-of-24) from the stripe in 23 games prior to that point. Since then, though, Sochan is converting 76.7% of his attempts (46-of-60) in 21 games with the new form. “Who else would do that?” Popovich said. “I would guess nine out of 10 players would say, ‘Pop, you’re crazy. I’m not doing that. I’m not going to shoot one-handed in front of 18,000 people.’ But he has the courage to do it and what, did he go from 35-40 to 80?”
It’s the second time a potential James game-winner went without a call this month; the Lakers learned James should’ve shot free throws after a drive in the first overtime of a two-overtime loss to Dallas. The Lakers also should’ve been granted a potential game-tying free throw when Kendrick Nunn made a three against Sacramento on Jan. 18 with less than 10 seconds left. “It’s been building,” James said after the game. “Because you guys seen some of the games we’ve lost this year with late-game missed calls. We had an opportunity to literally win the game.”
Sure, you may be thinking, but we all know what really killed the post-up, the stake through its old-school heart. NBA teams finally did the math: 3 > 2. Hoops analytics may have begun on the fringe, espoused by Caltech grads like Dean Oliver and tracked in spare bedrooms by hobbyists like Roland Beech, but by the mid-2010s, the revolution was complete. Three-pointers and free throws were the new Holy Grail. Midrange shots and post moves were anathema. By ’15, Grantland’s Zach Lowe was asking whether, in its zeal to make the game more exciting, “the league inadvertently killed the back-to-the-basket game.”
Doncic gave Clippers defenders hell. When he was not nailing buckets, the Mavs superstar was on the line hitting free throws. He finished with a game-high 34 points on 12-for-22 shooting from the field and 16-for-21 from the foul line. Doncic also added 11 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in 43 minutes. After yet another 40-point bomb against Los Angeles, Doncic now has the most such scoring feats against the Clippers in NBA history, surpassing both Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.
Jimmy Butler took the last free throw of the night, then bent his knees a bit and almost seemed unsure what would happen as the ball made its way to the rim. Turns out, it was perfect — and so were the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. They set an NBA record by making all 40 of their free throws, the last of those coming on Butler’s three-point play with 12.9 seconds left, and rallied in the final moments to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-111. Miami topped the 39-for-39 effort by Utah against Portland on Dec. 7, 1982.