The Cleveland Cavaliers made history Friday night, becoming the first LeBron James led the team to drop two back-to-back games by more than 25 points. The Cavs were absolutely dismantled in Canada as the Toronto Raptors won 133-99. The loss to the Raptors is also the third-straight game in which the Cavs have given up at least 127 points to their opponent.
Arguably the worst part about the loss is that the Raptors were without two of their key players, Serge Ibaka and All-Star Kyle Lowry. The Cavs have now lost six of their last eight games starting with a Christmas Day loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Much like when they started the season 5-7, the Cavs are scrambling for answers, and head coach Tyronn Lue isn’t happy.
“We’ve got to be better,” said Lue. “We know that. But until we play better defensively, I think offensively sharing the basketball, everyone on the same page—and if guys have agendas, we’ve got to get rid of our agendas and play the right way.”
When asked about “agendas” on the team, Lue didn’t offer much clarity, noting only that he said, “just what I said.” The leaders of the team don’t seem to take any offense to the comment, however, as LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas, Dwayne Wade, and other Cleveland players all resounded the same basic idea.
“We’re in a funk,” said LeBron. “Once again, we’re back to the beginning of the season. Just got to find a way to get out of it. It’s going to start with us and just everybody getting back to what we were doing when we were playing good ball. But we’re so fragile. I don’t know where it kind of went wrong or what happened to switch back, but we’ve got to try to pick it back up and find it.”
Back at the beginning of the season, the Cavs held a players’ meeting to put everything on the table and then switched up the starting lineup to get things back on track. LeBron may need to organize another such meeting the ways things are going right now.
During the loss Thursday, LeBron was caught on camera screaming in a huddle by the Cavs bench during the loss. Things have reached a boiling point, and it will most likely be up to him to cool everything down.
“Just us trying to figure it out,” said James, explaining away the exchange on the sideline. “It’s not for everybody. We came in here and talked about it, and that’s what happens at times. Family’s not always about a bed of roses.”
LeBron most likely felt like the only player on the court actually doing anything at times against Toronto. Isaiah Thomas, who was originally slated to sit the game out and rest, decided to go Thursday, but the team may have been better with him on the sideline. Thomas finished 2-of-15 from the field in an overall poor performance.
“The biggest thing that I see we’re not doing, we’re not playing for each other right now, offensively and defensively,” said Thomas. “Defensively everybody’s on an island playing defense by themselves. Offensively it’s a lot of one-on-one, no ball movement. It’s things we can fix, that’s the good thing about it, we just have to do it, and we have to do it now. You can lose games, but you can’t get blown out. With how good we really are, we can’t allow these types of games to happen.”
IT himself, of course, is partially responsible for the lack of ball movement. As a star point guard in the NBA, he should be expected to realize when he’s having an off-night and start looking to rack up assists instead of shot attempts.
Kevin Love, however, might need some clarification from Coach Lue in the locker room. Love doesn’t see a team of selfish player; rather, he sees a team of veterans like himself, LeBron, and others that happen to be going through some tough times.
“We’ve got a lot of vets on this team,” said Love. “If there are agendas, I don’t see it. But I’m sure whoever he’s speaking of or speaking to with that, he’ll address it, as we usually do.”
Maybe since Love is the only one that can’t seem to find the agendas, he’s the one perpetrating them? Aren’t conspiracy theories fun!
Anyways, the Cavs have a lot of improvements to make, and it’s in their best interest to make them quickly with the Warriors coming up again Monday. The Cavs also face the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in their next five games, so it’s easy to see this slump extending further if things aren’t dealt with soon.