LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have dominated the NBA Eastern Conference since his return to “The Land” in 2014. But so far in seven games in the 2017-2018 NBA regular season, the perennial powerhouse has gotten off to an underwhelming start.
After starting the season at a 3-1 win/loss mark, the Cavs dropped its last three games, punctuated by blowout losses to the New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks.
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Prior to that, the team lost a close game against the Brooklyn Nets—another non-playoff team from last season.
Speaking to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin shortly after the loss to the Knicks, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue made his displeasure known.
“Tonight’s loss and the last couple are unacceptable, and the only way we’re going to be able to get out of it is to put the work in—as players, as coaches,” he said. “And we’re going to do that. … When you lose to teams the way we’ve been getting beat, it’s unacceptable.”
Much like every team in the league, the Cavs are known to hit a wall at some point in the lengthy regular season. However, their apparent struggles seem to have come much earlier than usual.
Lue also bemoaned the team’s poor transition defense, and attributed it to the lack of effort.
“Teams just look faster than we do at every position,” Lue said. “They’re running fast, they’re spreading, they’re pushing the ball up the floor. It’s like we can’t keep up.”
Meanwhile, it is worth noting that the Cavs’ lineup is far from a hundred percent, with key addition Isaiah Thomas expected to be out until the All-Star break with a hip injury.
The team also added several new faces to its roster, which still needs some more time to coexist on the floor. Khristian Ibarrola /ra