The Cavaliers were bad, then they were great and now they’re bad again.
It’s been a weird season for the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions, but a seventh loss in 10 games — and one by 34 points to the shorthanded Raptors — has the Cavaliers searching for answers. It doesn’t sound like they are searching in the same place, though.
Coach Ty Lue offered his thoughts after a 133-99 beatdown in Toronto dropped Cleveland to 26-15 at the halfway point of its season.
“We’ve got to be better,” Lue said, according to ESPN. “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.”
What did his top veteran players think about those thoughts? They didn’t seem too thrilled.
“I mean, I would hope not,” LeBron James said. “I don’t [have an agenda]. At this point, three and a half, four years in this thing, I hope not. I don’t know. I don’t have one. I just want to win. I just like playing ball the right way, getting guys involved and winning the game also. I don’t.”
Kevin Love also didn’t know what Lue was hinting at.
“It’s my 10th year,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of vets on this team. 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. So, I don’t know.”
Former teammate Kyrie Irving appeared to be enjoying the meltdown in Toronto. Irving liked an Instagram post that was a video of James yelling at the team during a timeout huddle.
Coach LeBron is rips teammates during timeout pic.twitter.com/IYkPkWRt3N
— NBA Gods (@SportsLeakers) January 12, 2018
The Cavaliers started the season 5-7, but then ripped off 18 wins in 19 games to climb back near the top of the NBA. Marquee trade addition Isaiah Thomas has also joined the lineup after offseason hip surgery.
He hasn’t sparked the team out it’s funk, as James called it. Since Dec. 18, the Cavaliers are 3-7 and have the worst defensive rating (114.4 points allowed per 100 possessions) in the NBA.
“We’re in a funk,” James said. “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.”