* Tonight on TNT: Cavs vs. Spurs (8 ET)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to right their ship amid a 4-10 mark over their last 14 games. There was a much-publicized team meeting held the other day in which players singled out power forward Kevin Love for him leaving Saturday’s blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder early and for him missing the next day’s practice.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has maintained that a lineup change is not in order for the team after the team was searching for answers after that loss to OKC. After today’s practice in San Antonio, Lue made it clear that for all the chatter and team meetings the Cavs have had of late, the only thing that will matter is if his team starts winning again.
ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin was on hand for Lue’s comments as well as some from Love, who said he wasn’t the only target of ire at Monday’s meeting:
“I don’t know if it was needed, but now we got to do something about it,” Lue said at Cleveland’s shootaround Tuesday morning in preparation for the San Antonio Spurs. “Do a lot of talking, but we got to play better. We got to execute better offensively. We got to execute better defensively. We got to be better collectively.
“And it’s one through 15, one through eight on the coaching staff. Everyone has to be better and we’ve been saying that, but we’ve been taking the necessary steps to do that. We’ve been practicing, showing film, working on defensive things that we’ve got to get better at, so at some point we’ve got to start putting it together for 48 minutes.”
“Did I feel like a target? I think everybody, most people were a target,” Love said Tuesday when asked about the meeting. “We’re trying to figure this thing out. People hold themselves to a very high standard on this team, and we’re a team that feels like we can compete at the highest level. For us, it’s not about me. I’m not going to make it about myself. I’m sure with other guys it’s the same thing.
“Biggest thing is moving forward. For me, the thing I’ve always done is kept my mouth shut, and I continue to work hard and try to do best for the Cavs. That’s all I can do tonight and moving forward these last 35, 40 games. Overall just try to help this team.”
Lue said he did not need to defend Love’s absence in Saturday’s blowout, which, according to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, was attributed to migraine symptoms.
“I mean, that’s crazy,” Lue said. “If Kevin was out there we might have given up 170. Who knows, man. We’ve got to be better, got to just stay together. We’re being tested right now. This is when your true character comes out and the character of who you are as a person and as a player. We’ve got to step up and play basketball.”
Per ESPN.com, players were both skeptical of Love’s sickness and critical of the team’s coaching staff and decision-makers for allowing Love to leave without any accountability. As for All-Star forward LeBron James, he refused to address the team meeting topic and instead turned the spotlight on how his play simply has not helped Cleveland win.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” James said, concluding his media availability session. “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Everybody is accountable for the team, and my numbers is down. The team’s numbers is down and we’re not playing well, so obviously it’s a direct correlation of all of those things,” he said. “I could care less about me individually. But when I’m not playing to my standard and we’re losing, then I have to do a better job as well, so I got to figure that out too.”
The Cavaliers have been mentioned in some trades of late and according to ESPN.com, GM Koby Altman is continuing to work through potential deals. Pulling off a trade may require the Cavs to part with the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected pick in the 2018 Draft, writes TNT’s David Aldridge.
After tonight’s game against the Spurs, the Cavs have five of their next eight games at home.
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