Posted on January 21, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The general perception has been that the Cleveland Cavaliers will eventually snap out of it. They would, in time, regain their championship edge and start playing a dominant form of basketball. Each time the team takes the court, fans hope that today will be the day. Today will be the day the losing stops.
That day did not come Saturday afternoon. Instead, the opposite occurred. The Oklahoma City Thunder beat them so bad that LeBron James has stated he hopes head coach Tyronn Lue doesn’t get fired.
“I would hope not, but I really don’t know,” James said when asked if Lue could be fired (ESPN). “I don’t know what’s going to happen with our team. I have no idea what conversations have been going on. Me personally, I’ve been trying to stay as laser-sharp as I can to keep my guys ready to go out and play.
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Yes, sports fans, it was that bad.
It started with a 10-2 run by the Thunder to start the game which led to Oklahoma City holding a 43-24 lead. Things looked a little better for the Cavs in the second quarter. They got the offense on track a little better in the second and put up 36. But the defense was still lacking, and they only narrowed the gap by three by halftime to 76-60.
Cleveland has the offensive potential to close a 16-point gap in one half of play, but the question was whether they could muster enough defense. As it turns out, they could not. Their offense continued to play well. But Oklahoma City’s did as well.
Cleveland put up 64 points over the final two quarters. But Oklahoma City put up 72 to close out an epic beatdown, 148-124.
“I’ve never in my basketball life gave up 148 points, not even probably playing video games,” James said (ESPN). “They got everything that they wanted. Inside, outside, they had it moving.”
As a team, the Thunder hit 58 percent of their shots (58 of 100). Paul George led the way with 36 points followed by Carmelo Anthony with 29. Steven Adams chipped in 25 after a near-perfect night from the floor (12-13). Russel Westbrook added 23.
“We can be as good as any team in the West, any team in the NBA for that matter,” Paul George said after the game (ESPN). “When we play the right way the game comes easy.”
LeBron James needed 25 points to hit the 30,000-career points mark but fell short after scoring just 18. Isaiah Thomas ended up leading the way for Cleveland with 24 points.
The basketball-loving free world is calling for the Cavaliers to make some kind of change to snap the team out of the incredibly bad funk it has been in. But coach Ty Lue doesn’t think change is necessary.
“I like the group that we have,” he said (ESPN). “We just haven’t been healthy the whole year. I’m just focused on coaching the guys that we have.”
The team did lose Kevin Love just a few minutes into the game due to an illness, but his presence wouldn’t have made that much of a difference to Cleveland’s defense.
Perhaps Lue can get some coaching tips from Gregg Popovich after the Cavs play the Spurs in San Antonio Tuesday night. Oklahoma City will be back in action on Tuesday as well when they host the Brooklyn Nets.