The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t letting the Memphis Grizzlies loss slip by unnoticed. LeBron James is trying to use it as another rallying call for a team that’s expected to contend for the NBA championship, but sometimes pulls off inexplicable losses which show a problem in preparation and maybe focus, which can be interpreted in different ways heading into the playoffs.
The Golden State Warriors have the same problem from time to time, but with only six losses this season, it’s hard for them to actually be worried about it. The Cavaliers? They have losses to a Charlotte Hornets team playing without Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson and a Portland Trail Blazers team without Damian Lillard. Maybe it means that in the playoffs, when every game feels like the last one, they’re not going to let their guard down. But maybe it shows something about this team’s ability to stay focused regardless of who is against them.
I can sit up here and say that we’re a team that’s ready to start the playoffs tomorrow, but we’re not. We’re still learning. We still have things that happen on the court that just, that shouldn’t happen. We gave up a lot of pick-sixes. In NFL terms, that means it’s straight to the house. To have 25 turnovers for 30 points… I don’t care who you’re playing, it could be my son’s little league team, you’re going to lose when you give up that many turnovers just from carelessness.
James admitted the Cavs were preparing for something totally different, before finding out the Grizzlies were going to play with a completely different lineup, missing four of their starters.
I was fearful, especially because we had gone over everything with the expectation of those guys being in the lineup this morning, and to get here before the game and to find out that no one, pretty much, that we went over in the shootaround scouting session played. But as professionals, you got to respect them. We’re all in this league for a reason, and we didn’t respect them tonight, and they beat us.
Kyrie Irving had the same excuse.
I just think for us, as a maturing, young team, we just have to come out and play everybody the same way. For me, last day-and-a-half I spend watching film on Mike Conley, and then damn near before tipoff I find out he’s not playing and Z-Bo is not playing, and our shootaround was dedicated to stopping these two guys, and then we come in and the whole thing changes. We just have to get better as a team preparing for anybody that is out there on the floor, myself included.
Tyronn Lue? It seems he’s been talking and talking for the last 21 games, trying to explain two things: How he’s going to make the Cavaliers better, and how he had nothing to do with David Blatt getting fired.
I just thought they were tougher than us tonight. Thought they played hard and out-scrapped us. You got to respect everybody in this league. Everyone gets a paycheck. That was the message before the game. I’ve already learned a wounded animal is the most dangerous.
And before the game he already made sure that the media knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and a loss was in the air.
It’s always dangerous because we tend to let our guards down. It’s going to be my job tonight to make sure that we don’t do that. We’ve done that a few times this year, and every time their star and key guys sit out, we tend to take a step backward and kind of relax a little bit. These guys coming off the bench or these guys proving that they need minutes or want minutes, they play hard, and we got to be able to accept the challenge.
There’s been talk about James and Irving not getting along, but rumors keep popping up whenever there’s something bad going on the Cavaliers, which is once every three games, as every loss gets blown out of proportion. Kevin Love has been shipped off a number of times according to the media. But a broken clock does get it right twice a day. David Blatt was fired. Why? Depends on who you believe. But something isn’t quite right in the kingdom of Cleveland.