The Cavs laid bricks and still came away a winner.
Lost somewhere between the glittery skyline, the turnstile giveaways, the Hubie Brown blathering -- and the eventual victory that made all the hullabaloo seem suddenly worthwhile was a glaring harbinger of bad things to come:
If the Cavaliers do not stop hoisting bricks at the foul line, they won't be hoisting banners anytime soon. They went an anemic 15 of 30 at the line in their three-point win over the Wizards Wednesday. If Gilbert Arenas hadn't had perhaps his worst night as a pro, we'd already be looking up from the bottom of the Central Division standings.
How bad was it? The starting five went a combined 7 of 17, anchored by LeBron's 2 for 6 and Larry Hughes' 2 for 5. If my niece could have shot free throws in their place, not even LeBron would have been biting his nails by the fourth quarter.
By all accounts, the Cavs redoubled their offseason training to ensure this season would start the right way. Apparently lost amid the windsprints and bench-presses was an extra 15 minutes at the charity stripe. Only Zydrunas Ilgauskas (2 for 2) and Donyell Marshall (3 of 4) took care of business at the line -- though 5 of 9 from Anderson Varejao is probably all one should ask for; at least he's creating opportunities.
Indeed, the Cavs have an unprecedented opportunity before them this season. Please don't tell me free throws will keep them from seizing it. -- Erich Burnett