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Isaiah Thomas: Cleveland Cavaliers 'go separate ways' when in-game adversity hits

Since Christmas Day, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 6-13, the latest loss coming last night in Orlando. The Cavs led that game by 21 points, but a 41-point third quarter by the Magic and a nine-point fourth quarter by Cleveland sealed the 116-98 defeat. And as has been the case after each of these losses, the Cavs tried to put their finger on what the issue is.

Point guard Isaiah Thomas started out solid in Orlando, notching 11 points and four assists in the first quarter. From there, he struggled, going 0-for-8 the rest of the game and finishing with zero points. Fellow guards J.R. Smith and Derrick Rose struggled, too, and the trio of Thomas, Rose and Smith went a combined 0-for-17 after the first quarter.

After the game, Thomas chimed in on what he sees as the main issues plaguing the Cavs — in particular a lack of togetherness and a lack of in-game adjustments, too. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin has more:

“Right now, when we hit adversity, we go our separate ways,” Thomas said. “And that’s just how I feel, and it looks like that as well. Guys start to go one-on-one on offense, and the defense is every man for himself. The first half we played good, everybody was happy. It was energized, helping each other on the defensive end. Sharing the ball. The ball was moving side to side on offense. And then we revert back to what makes us lose games.”

Thomas was asked if anything can be done by the Cavs to address the slippage when the players are getting away from playing the right way.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, when I address something, it’s like I’m blaming somebody. So I just try to lead by example and do my job. Which, obviously, I got to play better. But something needs to be addressed. I mean, we continue to play like this, we’re going to continue to lose.”

Then Thomas seemingly blamed Cavs coach Tyronn Lue and his staff for not keeping up with the in-game maneuvers of opposing coaches. Lue left Tuesday’s game early with an illness.

“We got to do better,” Thomas said. “We got adjust throughout the game. They made adjustments, and it worked, and we just kept getting hit with the same thing, and we made no adjustments. And that’s been one of our biggest problems all year, is adjusting. Teams are not just going to allow us to continue to score and continue to do things at a high level. They’re going to make adjustments, and we have to do the same thing too, and we’re not that good at that right now.”

Despite being 30-22, the Cavs have been outscored 5,703-5,666 through 52 games, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

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