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Warriors 126, Cavs 91: Jason Lloyd's 28 thoughts on blood, beatdowns and rivalries

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 17, 2017

OAKLAND, CALIF.: Twenty-eight thoughts for 28 defensive rebounds in Monday’s 126-91 loss to the Golden State Warriors…

1.     The stream of blood randomly trickled out of Tristan Thompson’s shirtless chest in the locker room well after the storm. LeBron James noticed it and pointed it out to Thompson, who took a Kleenex and dabbed it away. And so here is where it will lie until June. Each team has been cut, each team has bled this season at the hands of the other. It’s how it should be.

2.     Now we wait.

3.     The Cavs were blitzed off the floor in the opening minutes Monday and never recovered, suffering their most lopsided loss of the season to the team that also handed them their worst defeat last season with another Martin Luther King Day belting. As dreary as things seemed then, after the Warriors crushed them by 34 at the Q, we know how the rest of those chapters were written.

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Warriors exact revenge, blitz Cavs 126-91 to end four-game skid in this series

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 16, 2017

OAKLAND, CALIF.: There was no dramatic comeback this time, no taunts of 3-1 comebacks and no jabs over blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. This time the Golden State Warriors punished the Cavaliers from start to finish with a convincing 126-91 beatdown on Martin Luther King day that included another memorable confrontation between LeBron James and Draymond Green.

The Warriors blitzed the Cavs in transition, outscoring them 37-13 in fast-break points. They built a double-digit lead just eight minutes into the game and piled on the rest of the night, expanding the lead to 39 in the fourth quarter. The Cavs stumbled through a miserable time shooting and continued an ongoing problem of not moving the ball enough and committing too many turnovers. They ended the night with 15 turnovers and only 11 assists.

Kyrie Irving, the hero in last season’s Finals and again on Christmas Day, struggled badly. He scored 17 points while committing six turnovers and shooting just 6-of-19. He sat most of the first quarter with foul trouble and never discovered his rhythm. By the time he returned for the start of the second, the deficit was already 15.  

Draymond Green and Steph Curry, meanwhile, were terrific. Green scored 11 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and passed for 11 assists. He finished with a plus/minus of plus-42, while James was a minus-32.

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Cavs 120, Kings 108; Jason Lloyd's 17 thoughts on Shumpert, Korver and good looks

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 14, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Seventeen thoughts for 17 free throws in Friday’s 120-108 win over the Sacramento Kings…

1.     The day the Cavs made the trade to acquire Kyle Korver, coach Tyronn Lue texted his new shooter to tell him how excited he was. Lue had volumes of plays he has been sitting on, plays he watched Doc Rivers run in Boston and Los Angeles for shooters like Ray Allen and J.J. Redick, because the Cavs didn’t have the personnel to fit them. Now they do.

2.     Korver made six straight shots and scored 18 points off the bench Friday. He played the entire second quarter and all but the final 45 seconds of the fourth as Lue continues to tinker with the right lineups around him. He wants to use LeBron James to run the second unit. For at least one night, it worked great.

3.     Perhaps it only took one shootaround for Korver to start to feel more comfortable in his surroundings. He said Friday’s morning walkthrough was longer than most shootarounds. The second unit spent about 20 minutes together on the floor, Korver estimated, just running through potential plays. Then he retreated to his hotel and watched film with the coaches to try and get acclimated to the system. Just imagine how comfortable he’ll be after his first practice, which comes Sunday in San Francisco.

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Kyle Korver breaks out in Cavs' 120-108 win over Kings

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 14, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Kyle Korver only needed one shootaround session to get a little more acclimated to the Cavaliers’ system. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has more in store for him, too.

Korver scored 18 points off the bench, including shooting 4-of-6 on 3-pointers in Friday’s 120-108 win over the Sacramento Kings to end a brief two-game losing streak.

Korver missed his first two shots Friday, then made seven of his next eight after struggling in his first two games in part because he didn’t have any instructional time during back-to-back losses against Utah and Portland.

Lue used Friday’s shootaround to shuffle his starting lineup, juggle his rotation and begin installing plays for Korver. The results were evident immediately. LeBron James had 16 points and 15 assists, Kevin Love scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 26 points in the win.

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LeBron will have to be patient; Cavs GM David Griffin says trade market for point guards still murky

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: LeBron James will have to be patient. Despite James’ calls for the Cavaliers to add a point guard, General Manager David Griffin said Friday the market is thin because so many teams still believe they’re playoff contenders.

“It’s very difficult right now to make trades,” Griffin said in his first public comments since the Cavs obtained Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks. “There’s so many teams that are still in it in both conferences in terms of those final playoff spots, that they’re really aren’t teams that identify themselves as sellers right now. And the teams that are identified as sellers probably didn’t have what fit us real well, so I think there are far fewer opportunities right now to make trades than there have been in the past for our team, just in terms of fit. So hopefully that picture clears itself up a little bit by trade deadline.”

There are seven teams in the East contending for the last four playoff spots that are separated by three games. There are four teams in the West fighting for the last spot separated by 1 1/2 games. Add it all together and there are only eight teams – the 76ers, Heat, Nets, Lakers, Timberwolves, Mavericks and Suns – who today are out of playoff contention. And with the season reaching the halfway point, there is still time for even some of them to climb back in the race.

Griffin left open the possibility of waiting until after the trade deadline, when the buyout market begins, to add a veteran piece. But the trade he executed with Portland last week in flipping draft picks opened up his 2021 first-round pick to use in a trade if the market clears.

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Iman Shumpert to start for Cavs, DeAndre Liggins off the bench vs. Kings

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Iman Shumpert will replace DeAndre Liggins in the starting lineup Friday when the Cavaliers host the Sacramento Kings, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

Lue has resisted moving Shumpert into the starting lineup for weeks because he insisted he wanted his production off the bench, but the recent addition of Kyle Korver has given Lue more punch in his bench scoring.

“Just playing with the starters, I think Shump played a lot better,” Lue said. “That’s what he was accustomed to doing. He’s been trying to come in and help carry the second unit. It’s tough on him.”

Shumpert has been mired in a deep shooting slump since getting off to a hot start from 3-point range. He shot 48 percent from 3-point range through his first 21 games, but has been at 24 percent in his last 16 games in a slump that dates back to Dec. 13. Shumpert is averaging 6.9 points and shooting 37 percent from deep overall.

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Blazers 102, Cavs 86; Jason Lloyd's 20 thoughts on struggling shooters, lack of practice time

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 12, 2017

PORTLAND, ORE.: Twenty thoughts for 20 points from LeBron James in Wednesday’s 102-86 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers…

1.     When the Cavs dropped three straight games in late November and early December, their problems were primarily on defense. Specifically, protecting the paint. The Bucks gashed them for 68 points inside and the Bulls punished them for 78. One come-to-Jesus film session and one good practice in Toronto went a long way toward fixing their problems.

2.     This is the Cavs’ first losing streak since that stretch and they again appear in need of another good practice, particularly since they haven’t had one since Dec. 28. But the problems this time, surprisingly, are on offense.

3.     LeBron James likes to call this a make-or-miss league and the Cavs are clearly missing more than they’re making. Some of that is cyclical and will course correct on its own, but they’ve had more turnovers than assists in each of their last three games and four of their last five.

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Cavs' shooting remains ice cold in 102-86 loss at Portland

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 12, 2017

PORTLAND, ORE.: The same team that set an NBA record for consecutive games with at least 10 3-pointers now can’t seem to get to double figures at all. The Cavs were buried twice Wednesday in the frigid Northwest, first by record snowfall and then by their own inept shooting.

The Cavs shot 34 percent and made just nine 3-pointers in their lopsided 102-86 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. It capped a strange 24 hours when the Blazers didn’t even land in Portland until about 5 1/2 hours before tip-off.

It didn’t matter. The Cavs have built an impressive record outshooting teams all season, but not lately. They failed to make at least 10 3-pointers for the fifth time in six games since the start of the New Year.

LeBron James scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Kevin Love scored 17 points, but was shut out in the second half. Kyrie Irving scored 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting and finished the back-to-back 9-of-34. Not surprisingly, the Cavs dropped both games.

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Student at Akron's Resnik elementary school pens song about LeBron James

By Published: January 11, 2017

Everyone is still excited about the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA championship last season, including a 9-year-old from Akron.

Jae'Anthony Michael Wharton is a fourth grader at Judith A. Resnik Community Learning Center in West Akron. When he's not busy practicing Taekwondo, where he's a junior black belt, he goes by J Swag.

This week, J Swag released his ode to LeBron James and Cavs with "We're All In."

"When the King is on the court, he's so ecstatic / so give him what he wants, he's automatic," J Swag raps in the song. Listen to the song here:

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Jazz 100, Cavs 92; Jason Lloyd's 26 thoughts on Korver's debut and LeBron's beef on foul calls

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 11, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY: Twenty-six thoughts for 26 points in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 100-92 loss to the Utah Jazz…

1.     The warning signs were evident the last few games as the turnovers grew and the assist totals shrunk. But the Cavs were playing lousy opponents. That wasn’t the case this time and it finally caught up with them.

2.     The Cavs just haven’t shot the ball well lately, which happens throughout the course of a season. Their 3-point shooting has not been good now in four of the last five games. It runs in cycles and eventually they’ll get hot again, especially with the addition of Kyle Korver.

3.     Another disturbing trend that isn’t getting as much attention is LeBron James’ lack of foul calls, which has him growing more and more frustrated. James has subtly complained at times over the years about his lack of calls, but he erupted on second-year referee Tyler Ford late in the first quarter and was hit with his second technical of the season.

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