But the Cavs, losers in eight of 10 since their defeat in Oakland on Christmas Day, were in an extended funk that could have significant consequences when it comes to the playoff seeds. After Monday's 118-108 loss to Golden State, the Cavs, who lost four games in a row, are just 4.5 games ahead of the ninth seed and 7.5 games behind Boston, the Eastern leader.
His defense, which has produced an average of 120 points in its last five games, is ranked 29th in the league and has its own set of problems. Integrating Isaiah Thomas, one of the worst defensive guards in the NBA, will not offer any pardons as the Cavs try to stop the enemy guards. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for an efficient 40 points while Cleveland tried to hide and help get closer with Thomas in the defensive end.
But perhaps what should be more troubling for the Cavs is their offense, which has been the cornerstone of their three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. Until December 21, the Cavs were 24-9 and had an offensive rating of 111.9 points for every 100 possessions, the third best in the league. Since then, his offense ranks 24th in the NBA, between the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks.
Against the Indiana Pacers last Friday night, the Cavs were outscored by 16 in the second half, finally with a 22 point lead. Against the Warriors on Monday, the Cavs were outscored by 17 when the offense stopped in the fourth quarter. They started the partial 2-of-17 from the field, and by that time the Warriors had retired.
Kevin Love, who had 17 points and three triples, offered an honest assessment.
"Our ball movement was not there, we were not pushing the pace," he said of the fourth. "I just do not get to the second side and have that player movement and ball movement as we usually have, I think it was quite revealing in the fourth round, of us not playing our basketball style." Lately it has been quite evident that this has been happening "
Said Dwyane Wade, who scored 10 points and hit just 1 of 7 shots in the second half: "It's hard to defend if you do not shoot to keep." a team like this below. I was playing D well, but not enough to offend. I told Bron that it's one of those times when I'm not going to sleep too much tonight, six shots I missed in the second half, saying I could have done more to help the team. "
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To be fair, the Cavs are trying to return Thomas the rotation, which inevitably throws the rest of the lineups and rotations out of play.Since he returned five games ago from a broken labrum, Thomas has shot 35% from the field.In his last three games, he has done only 13 of 47 shots, these are growing pains that the Cavs do not have More remedy than to live.
"I feel good," Thomas said after playing 32 minutes of the season. "My body feels good, I have to get in shape, as I keep saying, I have to get my legs back, especially when I'm a little out of breath, my legs get even heavier."
Given the crossroads the Cavs find themselves in, Wade called it an "important moment" for the team and said it's more to build winning habits than to win games at this point. But LeBron James could not rule out who the Monday's loss was coming from, and he did not care if they were competitive for three quarters, incremental steps on a grueling road trip.
"You want to play well against them," James said. "Every time, at the end of the day, it's the last three appearances in the Finals, you want to play well, you want to see where you are because most of them have played well for a long time."
Asked about the silver lining, since the Cavs were down by only 93-91 in the fourth quarter, and James was not having it.
"Comfort? No," he said. "Are we losing? No."
The only solace of a somber Cavs wardrobe?
"Let's play again on Thursday", Love deadpanned.
NBA photo of the day