Archive for the ‘Cameron’s Corner’ Category

Points by Quarter: The Effect of LeBron James on Margin.

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

What a great time to be a Cavaliers fan. Aside from some All-Star weekend snubbing and injuries, only positives exist: The NBA’s best record at 40-11, a 10 game winning steak, and an eight game home winning streak with four straight home games around the bend. What more could we as fans ask for?

Well, a little statistical observation of how the Cavaliers perform from quarter to quarter would be nice. John emailed me earlier this week with a theory of his. He wondered how the Cavaliers performed when LeBron James came out scorching in the first quarter. He is under the impression that his teammates will stand around on offense and that the lack of activity carries over to the defensive end, where the team will let up a lot of points.

So I figured it’d make for an interesting study to chart both the points and assists of LeBron James vs. the team’s scoring margin by quarter. After all, LeBron James is one of only three players (Parker and Hickson being the others) to play in all 51 games this season and, with all due respect to Anthony and J.J., he has always been the driving force of the Cavs offense.

A few disclaimers.

First, just because I broke the numbers down by quarter, the quarter figures are not equivalent. In a typical game, LeBron James will play the entire first quarter and then go to the bench and not return until around the seven minute mark of the second quarter. This means that first quarter figures should theoretically be close to double the second quarter statistics since James is logging nearly twice as many minutes in the first quarter. The same could be said for third quarter stats vs. fourth quarter stats. Therefore, while it is important to compare quarters, understand that some statistics, like a second quarter margin, don’t hinge as heavily on the shoulders of LeBron James.

Another important disclaimer is the distinction between scorer and creator. Just because LeBron tallies 5 assists in one quarter and only 2 in the next, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he decided to focus more on scoring and not on creating for his teammates. There is no stat for passes that find open teammates, yet lead to a miss and no assist for the creator. This is why it’s important to also look at field goals and free throws attempted, as these figures provide a better measure of whether or not LeBron James is looking to score or if he is looking for his teammates.

Lastly, there have been three fourth quarters that LeBron James has not played in this season due to a blowout. Therefore, for both the chart and graphs, I have included statistics from only the 48 fourth quarters that James saw action in.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at LeBron’s numbers by quarter.

LeBron James’ stats by quarter.

Q Pts Asts FG/FGA 3P FG/FGA FT/FTA Cavs margin (TOT)
1st 8.7 3.1 165-291 (56.7%) 23-63 (36.5%) 89-114 (78.1%) +3.2 (+162)
2nd 6.5 1.5 102-187 (54.5%) 15-41 (36.6%) 110-143 (76.9%) +1.9 (+97)
3rd 7.4 2.3 135-298 (45.3%) 30-87 (34.5%) 76-103 (73.8%) +1.2 (+60)
4th* 7.1 1.4 99-219 (45.2%) 22-61 (36.1%) 123-154 (79.9%) +1.0 (+47)
OT 5.5 1.0 4-9 (44.4%) 1-3 (33.3%) 2-2 (100%) +5.5 (+11)

*contains only 48 quarters of play.

One of the first things that sticks out to me is how overpowering LeBron James is in the first quarter. As I mentioned he does typically play the entire first quarter, but to average 8.7 points and 3.1 assists per game on 56.7% shooting in the first frame is very special. For those of you who remember, when I took a look at LeBron’s assists last month, he had 323 assists with 110 of them leading to three-pointers. This means that the average assist from James leads to 2.34 points. Using this number to estimate how many points LeBron’s 3.1 first quarter assists lead to, James accounts for roughly 16.0 first quarter points either by direct scoring or assisting them. In the end, this could explain why the Cavaliers are second in the NBA in points per first quarter with 28.2 points per game in the first (LeBron James boasting a ridiculous 56.7% hands on points ratio in this quarter).

But what about LeBron’s role of scorer vs. his other role of creator? The first quarter marks the largest margin of victory for the Cavaliers, but it also holds the most amount of LeBron’s points and assists. This means it’s impossible to tell whether or not the large margin is more so a product of LeBron’s ability to score or create for others.

A large margin for the Cavaliers is obviously a combination of the two forces, but is there a stronger connection with one and not the other? What would a plot of LeBron’s assists vs. the Cavs margin look like and how would that compare to his points vs. team margin? Well, look no further.

LeBron’s points and assists vs. Cavaliers +/- margin.

The first thing I noticed was a positive, linear relationship between the two variables for both graphs. Now, the correlation isn’t overwhelmingly strong and there are some outliers, but overall it appears that there is a correlation between LeBron’s performance in the quarter and Cleveland’s margin of victory in that quarter (what a shock!).

The interesting thing to note is how the line of best fit appears to be stronger (more steep) regarding LeBron’s assists rather than his points. Whenever LeBron tallies a certain number of assists, the first chart illustrates how the margin very rarely dips into the negative portion of the graph. On the other hand, there are instances of LeBron James scoring 20 points and the Cavaliers losing the quarter by 6 points.

LeBron’s points and assists vs. Cavaliers +/- margin with stipulations.

For a better understanding of this phenomenon, here is a zoomed in version of the graphs, focusing on a minimum number for each stat. So far this season LeBron has had at least 4 assists in 30 different quarters. Similarly, James has scored 12 or more points in 33 separate quarters. Therefore, here are the same graphs from above, but with only quarters featuring 4 or more assists or 12 or more points.

With these graphs you’ll notice a stronger correlation between margin and both variables with a slope that is nearly equal for each graph. But look at how much higher the line of best fit is in the first graph that charts assists vs. margin. Out of the 30 quarters that saw LeBron James dish out at least 4 assists, 24 of them led to a positive margin for the Cavaliers (80%). On the other hand, with the 33 quarters that LeBron scored at least 12 points in, only 21 times did it lead to a positive margin for the quarter (63.6%).

There have been only two instances of LeBron James scoring at least 12 points with at least 4 assists in a quarter and the Cavaliers won both quarters by an average 10.5 points. I would hope this would be the case since 12 points and 4 assists would account for 21.4 points on average from LeBron’s distribution alone.

How the Cavs fare later on when LeBron comes out scoring in the first.

But while this information is very useful, it doesn’t really touch on what John was referring to. How do the Cavaliers fare in the later quarters when LeBron comes out shooting and scoring in the first?

Q Pts Asts FG/FGA 3P FG/FGA FT/FTA Cavs margin (TOT)
1st 15.6 2.1 57-77 (74.0%) 10-16 (62.5%) 32-27 (86.5%) +7.1 (+71)
2nd 6.1 1.7 15-43 (34.9%) 3-7 (42.9%) 28-32 (87.5%) +5.2 (+52)
3rd 5.6 1.9 19-43 (44.2%) 2-10 (20.0%) 16-21 (76.2%) -2.8 (-28)
4th 7.4 1.6 23-48 (47.9%) 4-5 (80.0%) 22-25 (88.0%) +2.1 (+21)
OT* 2.0 2.0 1-4 (25.0%) 0-1 (0%) 0-0 (0%) +13 (+13)

*contains only 1 overtime game.

As one would expect, when LeBron scores at least 12 points in the first quarter the Cavaliers win that frame by a significant margin (+7.1 points). Furthermore, James shoots the ball very well in these first quarters, converting 62.5% of his three-pointers and 86.5% of his free-throws.

But what’s really interesting is the tone this sets for the rest of the game. First, LeBron isn’t nearly as hot in the second quarter, averaging 6.1 points on 34.9% shooting, yet the team remains strong, winning the second quarter by an average of 5.2 points. However, this leads to a third quarter lull where neither James nor his teammates appear prepared. James shoots worse from three (20.0%) and the free throw line (76.2%) in the third than in any other quarter. Perhaps as a result, the Cavaliers are actually -2.8 points in the third quarter of games in which LeBron scores 12 or more points in the first quarter. This is pretty crazy when you consider the Cavs are +2.1 points per third quarter in the 41 games that see James score under 12 points in the first quarter.

Regardless, the Cavaliers typically bounce back in the fourth quarter, winning that quarter by a larger margin than usual. It’s also interesting to study LeBron’s fourth quarter numbers in these games where he goes off in the first. His shooting numbers are greater than usual as he averages more points and assists in these fourth quarters than usual. Perhaps he’s saving some of that first quarter magic for the end of the game, explaining the porous play in the third quarter.

The most important number, however, is the fact that when LeBron James scores at least 12 points in the first quarter the Cavaliers are 10-0, winning by an average 12.9 points per game. Typically eager to destroy the New York Knicks early and often, like when he scored 19 points in the first quarter earlier this season in New York, we as fans can only hope he comes out firing tonight, leading the Cavaliers to an easy victory.

The ideal first quarter.

After looking at so many individual trends (LeBron scoring 12+, dishing out 4+ assists, etc.), I figured it was time to look at LeBron’s numbers when the team is playing well in the first quarter. So far this season the Cleveland Cavaliers have won a first quarter by at least 10 points on eight occasions. Here are LeBron’s averages from those big first quarters.

– LeBron’s points (8 games): 10.0 points.

– LeBron’s assists (8 games): 5.4 assists.

– LeBron’s shooting (Fg/Fga): 33-45 (73.3%)

(3p/3pa): 8-12 (66.7%)

(Ft/Fta): 6-9 (66.7%)

Perhaps the most interesting factor for this ideal first quarter is the establishment of the three-point jumper. With these numbers coming from eight double-digit first quarter victories, the average fan would assume it came from LeBron being aggressive and getting to the free throw line. However, he only averaged 1.1 free throw attempts over this span, shooting fewer free throws than three-pointers and connecting on them at the same rate (66.7%). Maybe the key is for LeBron to come out, hit a three or two to keep the defense honest, and then attack the lanes the rest of the quarter, freeing himself up for layups and his teammates for wide open three-point shots.

Whatever it is, I’d like to see it tonight.

Final shots.

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers have had 25 quarters with at least a 10 point margin of victory so far this season. Nine of these times LeBron had at least 4 assists, nine of the times he had at least 12 points, and the two patterns intersected twice as well. In Cleveland’s 15 quarters with double-digit deficits, LeBron has had at least 4 assists once and at least 12 points twice, with the two events never occurring simultaneously.
  • It’s nice to see that LeBron’s highest free throw percentage comes in the fourth quarter (79.9%). Shooting only 73.8% from the stripe in the third quarter, it’s good to have an 80.0% shooter on the line in the clutch.
  • If you looked at the percentages in the first chart, you’ll notice that LeBron’s field goal percentage steadily declines from quarter to quarter. I attribute this to two factors, fatigue and defensive adjustments. And since LeBron’s field goal percentage drops from 54.5% to 45.3% from the second quarter to the third quarter, I’d say the latter has more to do with the decline than the former. Since one would expect players to be fresh coming out of their halftime break, it’s more likely that teams are game planning to get the ball out of LeBron’s hands or cool him off in the second half.
  • LeBron’s three-point percentages are fairly stable, hovering above 36% with the exception of the third quarter. Once considered the “kryptonite quarter” by Cavs fans because it seemed like no lead was safe once the third quarter began, it looks like it still remains the worst quarter for James, at least in regard to efficiency. Luckily the Cavaliers are +60 (+1.2 per game) in the third quarter this season, so it hasn’t been that big of a deal.
  • Lastly, in regard to third quarter woes, it appears that some complacency sets in for James. LeBron is averaging 1.7 three-pointers per third quarter, more than he averages in any other quarter (1st – 1.2 threes, 2nd – 0.8 threes, 4th – 1.3 threes). The fact that he’s shooting worse from three in that frame would suggest he would lay off the three-point attempts, but it appears the opposite is occurring. Over the past 15 games, James is only 5-27 (18.5%) from three in the third quarter, averaging 1.8 three-pointers per third quarter.

Make sure to join the discussion at Numbers Don’t and Real Cavs Fans!

Life Without Mo Williams: Expect LeBron’s Easy Baskets to Fall.

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

(Ed. Note: I decided to take down the post above this one. It was a YouTube video about how LeBron was allegedly part of the “Illuminati.” I thought it was a little funny, but ultimately I realized that posting it didn’t feel right. I want to feel good about everything I post here, and I didn’t feel good about that one. This post is much more indicative of what I’m trying to do with this website.)

It’s been roughly three full years since LeBron James and Larry Hughes publicly criticized the Cavaliers offensive scheme. “We don’t get easy baskets,” James expressed after a February loss against Detroit in which the Cavs put only 78 points on the board. He also went on to suggest that he had only caught two lob passes 48 games into the 2006-07 season, which he felt was a career low. A December quote from LeBron best summarized the feelings of the players and fans midway through that season: “Our offense is what’s killing us right now.”

The rest is history. The offense began to take on a new shape, the team averaged 89.7 points per game in a six-game conference finals against Detroit to go to their first finals in franchise history, and slowly Danny Ferry began to ship out players like Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden in an attempt to surround LeBron James with smarter, more efficient offensive threats like Mo Williams and Delonte West.

And there’s no denying that the Cavaliers offense has grown dramatically since then, particularly over these past two seasons. After averaging 96.8 points per game in the 2006-07 season and 96.4 points per game in the 2007-08 season, the Cavs have averaged at least 100 points per game since. The team scored 100.3 points per game last season and currently average 100.9 points per game 45 games into this season.

Thanks for the easy basket support, Ferry.

But how much of this should be attributed to a change in offensive mentality that started back in 2007 and how much to a change in personnel that followed shortly thereafter? Last season John Kuester was hailed as an offensive genius, helping the Cavaliers offense flourish after Mike Brown fell short. The success was so widely known that it propelled Kuester into the head coaching position in Detroit.

However, Kuester’s Pistons are averaging only 92.2 points per game this season, two points per game fewer than Michael Curry’s Detroit team last year. And the Cavs? Oh, they’re averaging 0.6 points per game more than they did last season. Nothing against John Kuester, he’s in a very tough position, but you would’ve thought he took Cleveland’s offense with him judging by fan reaction this offseason.

The personnel change I had in mind originally was Mo Williams. Quite often Mo’s success is swept under the rug thanks to the notion that he’s a mainly just a very good shooter that plays off of LeBron. Then, such as in the eastern conference finals, there are times when fans give Mo Williams seemingly no credit at all and write him off as a streaky jumpshooter, undeserving of the moniker of a legitimate second option.

Even when fans acknowledge his ability to create shots for others, many feel he creates only with the second unit and rarely probes the defense when LeBron is on the floor. However, the numbers suggest that Mo Williams may be the closest thing to a true point guard that LeBron James has ever experienced. Ultimately, if nothing else, he’s a steady hand capable of feeding James those easy baskets that he has craved since 2007.

So far this season LeBron James has compiled 70 dunks through 45 games. This is roughly 1.56 dunks per game, a number that is very similar to his 1.58 dunks per game last season when James threw the hammer down 128 times. And, just as it was the case with the Cavs offense, these figures have increased since the lack-of-easy-basket days. During the 2007-08 season LeBron James had 109 dunks in 75 games, equivalent to 1.45 dunks per game.

While a tenth of a dunk more per game may not seem significant, the manner in which LeBron is getting his dunks is important to note. So far this season 49 of LeBron’s 70 dunks have been assisted (70%, although 82 games suggest 72% of his dunks are assisted so assume 2% error). This percentage blows away any ratio of assisted dunks from seasons past, as James has never had more than 64% of his dunks assisted (08-09 – 59%, 07-08 – 52%, 06-07 – 58%, 05-06 – 64%, 04-05 – 62%, 03-04 – 62%).

Similarly, LeBron James has received a big helping hand on his layups this year, with 75 of his 167 layups being assisted (44.9%). While this number isn’t nearly as large, the likelihood of a dunk being assisted versus a layup being assisted are very unequal, especially for players like LeBron who will only use a layup when he doesn’t have a clear dunking lane.

So here’s the question everyone wants answered–who assists these easy baskets?

It’s fairly obvious from the pie charts that Mo Williams gets LeBron more easy buckets than any other Cavalier. He has assisted 53 of LeBron’s dunks and layups, accounting for 22.4% of LeBron’s 237 total easy baskets and 42.7% of the assisted easy baskets.

Furthermore, with these 53 assisted baskets, 24.2% of Mo Williams’ assists go to LeBron James for a dunk or layup. In the 43 games they’ve played together, Mo Williams has assisted LeBron James 74 times, accounting for 45.1% of LeBron’s assisted baskets (16.8% of his total 439 baskets through 43 games). That means that 33.8% of Mo Williams’ 219 assists so far this season have gone to LeBron James. Not bad for someone who supposedly only creates for the second unit.

Delonte West has also been important when it comes to feeding The King, combining with Mo Williams to account for 67 of James’ 124 assisted dunks and layups (54.0%). That’s what makes the Mo Williams loss doubly troublesome. With no Delonte West to replace him thanks to a broken finger suffered in Thursday night’s game, there is no guard left to set LeBron up with an easy dunk, outside of the slim production that Anthony Parker provides.

The lack of easy setup baskets has certainly showed, too. In the last two games without the aid of Mo Williams, LeBron James has not only failed to get an assisted dunk, but has zero dunks. He has managed to make seven layups over the past two games, with three of them being assisted, but there hasn’t been a single player to find him more than once for an easy basket over this span. Maybe the Cavaliers will be able to adapt to life without Williams for the time being and could possibly turn to a stable of players in an attempt to pick up the production. But one thing is for sure, it won’t be the same as when Mo Williams does it.

And we’ve all seen how Mo creates these easy buckets for LeBron. After three to five seconds of Steve Nash-like probing, Williams escapes the paint and peers over his shoulder at the scrambling defense. It’s at this moment that he sees a cutting James and a confused defender looking at a spot on the floor that only contains remnants, a blurry number twenty-three jersey courtesy of persistence of motion and the fresh scent of talcum powder, of a ready-to-dunk James. Then it’s either a one-handed bullet pass, a quick bounce pass, or a lob pass for an alley oop.

With 17 alley-oops on the season, three of them from Williams, it’s a play that LeBron is starting to grow fond of. And why not? It sure beats the two lobs he got from Larry Hughes and company three years ago.

Make sure to join the discussion at Numbers Don’t and Real Cavs Fans!

Three Stats You Need to Know: A Midseason Review.

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

It’s a game late for an official midseason review, but I’m hoping the generous fans of Cavs: The Blog will be able to forgive me for being late to my first day of work.

For those of you who missed John Krolik’s announcement, my name is Mark Cameron and I write for a Cavs blog named Numbers Don’t. I’ll be writing here part-time, probably weekly, so make sure to email me at camakazee03@yahoo.com if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or stats you’d like to see analyzed.

Anyway, after 42 games, I figured it was time we all take a look at what the Cleveland Cavaliers have done so far this season. But, instead of a traditional midseason review that may grade every player on the team or touch on what they’ve done well with or struggled with, I decided to throw out three unique stats that Cavs fans need to know.

Some of these are simply updated stats I’ve used before with new conclusions now and some are new altogether. So, without further ado, here are the midseason stats you have to see.

#1. Where do LeBron’s assists go?

A pie chart tracking the distribution of LeBron James' 323 assists to date.

After breaking down the results, not much has changed since I last looked at where LeBron’s assists go after game 28 this season. Anthony Parker is still the primary beneficiary of LeBron’s assists, accounting for 19% of them (61 assists), with Mo Williams a close second with 17% (56 assists).

However, LeBron has started looking for his big men more, particularly his centers. After game 28, LeBron had found Shaquille O’Neal for 7% of his assists and Zydrunas Ilgauskas for 11% of his assists, averaging 1.46 assists per game to the two targets combined. All three numbers have increased after 42 games, with O’Neal commanding 9% of LeBron’s assists, Ilgauskas receiving 14% of the dimes, and the two combining for 1.76 assisted baskets per game courtesy of LeBron James.

However, if some players are receiving a larger proportion of LeBron’s assists, there has to be an equal decrease with other players. In this case, J.J. Hickson saw a -3% drop in assists received from LeBron since game 28 and Jamario Moon saw a -2% reduction. Moon’s drop off, however, can be attributed to recent injury, as Jawad Williams has picked up his 2% production filling in for him over the past week.

One of the more interesting conclusions from this stat comes from charting the type of players that are on the other end of LeBron’s assists. For instance, despite averaging only 7.3 points per game (10.2% of the team’s 71.3 points per game not scored by James), Anthony Parker is on the other end of 19% of LeBron’s assists. The reason for this discrepancy is the style of Cleveland’s spread and attack offense that has benefit LeBron James for quite a few seasons now. By putting three-point shooters in the corner, LeBron is able to attack the heart of the defense with either little defensive help or a wide open sharpshooter to either side. Both Parker and Mo Williams are able to finish off many of LeBron’s assists this way, simply by camping out at the three-point line. So far, through 42 games this season, 110 of LeBron’s 323 assists have been on three-pointers (34.1%).

With nearly 35% of his assists going to three-point shooters, this boosts LeBron James’ hands on points percentage. For those who are unfamiliar with the measure, hands on points is the percentage of a team’s points that a player either scores directly or assists. With 1,243 points scored and 756 points off assists so far this season, LeBron James has accounted for 47.2% of Cleveland’s points. This number is also up from earlier this season, but only by 0.2%.

Averaging a career-high 7.7 assists per game through the first 42 games, we may be witnessing LeBron’s most dominant offensive season yet.

#2. What about “LeIso” jumpshots?

It’s the shot that drives every Cavs fan crazy. The Cavaliers take over with roughly 20 seconds left, ensuring the last shot of the quarter, as LeBron James calls for the ball at midcourt. He then proceeds to hold the ball as his eyes alternate between his opponent and the game clock until it reads five seconds. Then, James varies it up between either a few jab steps or a couple of dribbles as he moseys into a deep three or a foot-on-the-line two-point jumper. Well, in the minds of the fans, this shot never goes in. But what do the stats say?

FG’s/FGA’s Type of shot Av. Point DIFF before shot 1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q
4-20 (20.0%) eleven 3’s, nine 2’s +5.6 5 7 7 1

These numbers reflect only isolation end-of-the-quarter jumpshots by James, weeding out other attempts with a few simple rules. First, no layups or dunks are reflected in these stats. Secondly, only possessions when the Cavs take over with more than 10 seconds left will count, thus separating isolation jumpshots from half-court heaves or a sprint to a shot. Lastly, only jumpshots taken within the last 5 seconds of the quarter by LeBron James will be included in the stat.

Now, with that said, it’s quite clear that these isolation jumpshots to end the quarter are probably the most inefficient part of LeBron James’ game. Believe it or not, that percentage is up from just a week ago thanks to two made field goals on the west coast road trip. In fact, before a two-point jumper to end the first quarter in Portland last Sunday, LeBron James was 0 for his last 13 isolation jumpers to finish the quarter. That jumpshot also marked his first made two-point isolation jumper to end a quarter, as he was 0-7 on two-point jumpers before that game.

Ultimately, LeBron rarely reverts to the isolation jumpshot to end the quarter if his team is losing. The Cavs are ahead by an average of 5.6 points when he hoists these jumpers, and Cleveland has been leading 16 of the 20 times when James has decided to hold the ball and ease his way into a long shot to conclude the quarter. But there’s no denying how much more efficient the Cavs look at the end of a quarter when LeBron either drives hard to the hoop for a layup, dunk, or kick-out, or fools the defense by holding the ball and then passing off to a three-point shooter in the corner. After all, lack of focus when holding a moderate or large lead has been an area of concern so far for the Cavaliers this season and these isolation jumpshots to end the quarter certainly reflect that.

#3. How about each player’s splits?

An important piece of information to know for any team is who can shoot well on the road and who can’t. If you’re having flashbacks to Thursday’s game at Utah with Anthony Parker on the line, I apologize for any stress I induced. Here is a look at the team’s splits between home and road shooting percentage as well as each individual player’s splits.

Cleveland’s FG% on road: 47.1%.
Cleveland’s FG% at home: 50.0%.
Cleveland’s FT% on road: 75.2%.
Cleveland’s FT% at home: 72.1%.

Player FG% on road FG% at home FT% on road FT% at home
Delonte West* 46.5% 44.0% 83.7% 80.0%
Mo Williams* 42.7% 47.4% 90.3% 87.2%
LeBron James* 49.7% 53.6% 79.5% 75.2%
Anthony Parker 43.1% 44.6% 76.7% 77.8%
Jamario Moon 48.5% 41.7% 72.7% 93.8%
Zydrunas Ilgauskas 42.3% 49.1% 73.5% 78.6%
Daniel Gibson 45.3% 46.6% 69.2% 72.7%
J.J. Hickson* 51.2% 58.0% 67.5% 61.5%
Anderson Varejao 50.0% 52.6% 65.2% 67.6%
Shaquille O’Neal* 49.7% 55.6% 54.0% 50.0%

* players that shoot a better free throw percentage on the road.

So, if you could take a time machine back to Thursday night, the ball should have gone to either LeBron or Delonte, not Z or Parker (remember, Mo Williams had fouled out that game). Both LeBron and Delonte shoot better from the line in away games than home games and they also have a better road free throw percentage than either Ilgauskas or Parker.

Also, it’s somewhat startling to see how much less efficient all three of Cleveland’s leading scorers are on the road. James, Williams, and O’Neal all shoot a lower field goal percentage in away games as opposed to home games by 3.9, 4.7, and 5.9 percent, respectively. Hopefully this is a byproduct of some tough road games out west and not a developing trend that could hurt the Cavaliers in the playoffs.

Luckily, the team has found a nice way to counteract the inefficient shooting on the road, and that solution lies at the free throw line. The Cavaliers are averaging 27.0 free throw attempts on the road this season, compared to only 23.3 free throw attempts at home. The team also shoots better from the line on the road, believe it or not, shooting 75.2% in away games as opposed to 72.1% in home games.

A lot of this starts with LeBron James, who not only shoots a better percentage on the road as I mentioned earlier, but is more aggressive and quicker to get to the line in away games. James has averaged 8.5 free throw attempts at home so far this season, yet has managed to shoot 10.0 free throws per game outside the state of Ohio. Ultimately, if the Cavaliers remain this aggressive on the road and begin to shoot better from the floor as the visiting team, they could become a very dangerous road playoff team.

Hopefully, you’re all able to take something away from these three stats. If anything, you now know where LeBron is trending with his assists, how inefficient his end-of-the-quarter jumpshots are, and how aggressive the team has been on the road in terms of drawing fouls. In the end, the biggest stat might be the 9-3 record the Cavaliers have posted against the nine teams with 24 or more wins. Not a bad start against the league’s elite, that’s for sure.

Make sure to join the discussion at Numbers Don’t and Real Cavs Fans!