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LeBron fires back at hater Charles Barkley after commentary regarding Cavs roster talk

By Published: January 31, 2017

LeBron James has apparently had enough of Charles Barkley's opinions about what the Cavs superstar says and his legacy compared to NBA legends.

After the Cavs lost 104-97 Monday night to the Dallas Mavericks, James made it clear to ESPN that he doesn't appreciate Barkley's rhetoric.

"I'm not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that," James told ESPN. "I'm not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, 'I'm not a role model.' I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying.

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Cavs 107, Thunder 91; Jason Lloyd's 14 thoughts on defense, Love, Shumpert and Thompson

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 29, 2017

CLEVELAND: Fourteen thoughts for LeBron James’ 14 rebounds in Sunday’s 107-91 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder…

1.    This on-again/off-again defensive effort seems to be turned on again. How long it lasts is anyone’s guess, but so far so good.

2.    The Thunder missed plenty of open looks Sunday and coach Billy Donovan didn’t think Iman Shumpert’s effort had much to do with Russell Westbrook’s misses. Still, Shumpert and Tristan Thompson deserve at least some of the credit for harassing Westbrook into a 7 of 26 performance that included four turnovers.

3.    The Thunder hurt the Cavs in transition early because LeBron James said they were having problems getting matched up. Westbrook was guarding Kyrie Irving, but the Cavs wanted Shumpert on Westbrook when the Thunder had the ball. That caused some confusion early, but the Cavs sorted out the issues after the first quarter.

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Kevin Love will not return to game due to back spasms

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 29, 2017

CLEVELAND: Kevin Love departed Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second quarter with lower back spasms and will not return. Love missed all four of his shots and finished with one point and eight rebounds.

Love has battled back issues since coming to Cleveland, but it has only forced him to miss one complete game this season. He also sat the second half of a game at Golden State earlier this month with back problems.

James Jones started the second half in his place.

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Cavs 124, Nets 116; Jason Lloyd's 20 thoughts on a win, Barkley's comments and LeBron's reaction

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2017

CLEVELAND: Twenty thoughts for 20 free throw attempts in Friday’s 124-116 win over the Brooklyn Nets…

1.     We all know LeBron James is calculated and measured with everything he says. Yet in the midst of a difficult stretch of losing this week, James threw a hand grenade into the storm.

2.     After hearing him talk following this win, now it’s fair to wonder just how much he intentionally wanted to stir the pot just to see how his teammates and the organization would react. He already said the start of the new year has been lousy. Now he said he likes it that way.

3.     “It’s great,” James said Friday. “Listen, at the end of the day, the road to a championship or the road to success shouldn’t be a bed of roses. That’s never been my road. I don’t think I should expect anything different. So, having bumps in the road, I think it builds character and I think it’s good for our team. I think it’s good for our individuals as well.”

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LeBron scores 31, Irving 28 as Cavs pull out of funk with 124-116 win over Nets

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 27, 2017

CLEVELAND: As luck would have it, the league’s biggest punching bag dropped into town Friday right about the time the Cavs badly needed to blow off some steam. So they kicked and punched their way out of a losing streak.

LeBron James scored 31 points and passed for 11 assists, Kyrie Irving scored 28 points and the Cavs beat the lowly Brooklyn Nets 124-116 after losing six of their last eight games.

The final was closer than it should’ve been because the Nets scored 43 points in the fourth quarter, continuing a trend they have set all season. It’s the third time this season they have scored at least 40 points against the Cavs in the fourth quarter – but they lost all three games.

It was the fourth-straight loss for the Nets and the 15th in their last 16 games. Perhaps sensing the impending doom, coach Kenny Atkinson rested Brook Lopez and Caris LeVert after already being without Trevor Booker (illness), Joe Harris (sprained ankle) and Jeremy Lin (hamstring).

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Cavs' Kevin Love named All-Star

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 26, 2017

CLEVELAND: Kevin Love is finally an All-Star again.

Love was selected Thursday as one of the reserves for the Feb. 19 All-Star game in New Orleans. It is his fourth selection and first since coming to Cleveland three years ago. He joins teammates LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, who were voted in by fans, players and the media as starters.

Love is averaging 20.5 points and 11 rebounds, easily his best season with the first-place Cavs. He is the only post player in the East averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

“It’s a no-brainer,” coach Tyronn Lue said of Love’s All-Star selection. “He’s been playing at a high level all season. I know he’s had some knick-knack injuries and food poisoning and things like that, but he’s an All-Star for sure.”

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Tyronn Lue on the distractions: 'I hate it'

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 26, 2017

INDEPENDENCE: It isn’t just the losing that has Cavs coach Tyronn Lue aggravated. It’s all of the drama that accompanies it. The Cavs have lost three straight and 6 of 8 entering Friday’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets and Lue is tired of talking about the roster, trade rumors and LeBron James’ remarks this week.

“I hate it,” Lue said. “I gotta come and deal with you guys every time it happens. I’ve always been a man. I don’t like when people come out and say, ‘sources say.’ Listen, if you can’t put your name behind it then don’t say it. I don’t believe in that. I tell you guys all the time, if I say it, I say it. Just a lot of distractions.”

Tensions are clearly rising within the organization, which just means the season has finally started. James turned heads two years with a cryptic tweet about “fitting in and fitting out” that those within the team now concede was aimed at Kevin Love.

Last season, James sent out a series of mysterious tweets near the end of the regular season and now he’s questioning the organization’s desire to win and the way the roster has been constructed.

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Kings 116, Cavs 112; Jason Lloyd's 45 thoughts on LeBron, Griffin, complacency and Carmelo

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 26, 2017

CLEVELAND: Forty-five thoughts for 45 minutes from LeBron James in Wednesday’s 116-112 overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings…

1.    There was no routine postgame icing session for LeBron James this time. No time to soak away his frustrations. This time James was dressed and ready when the media entered the locker room. He left right after he was done answering questions.

2.    James fired all of his bullets Monday. There wasn’t anything left in the chamber. And yet still, the Cavs couldn’t solve how to close out the Sacramento Kings. The Kings. The bloody Kings.

3.    “We gotta get better, that's all,” James said. “We had our opportunities.”

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LeBron triple-double not enough, Cavs blow big lead in 4th quarter, fall to Kings in OT 116-112

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 25, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James put the franchise and everyone in it on notice Monday night. This wasn’t the response anyone expected.

Arron Afflalo’s 3-pointer from the wing gave the Sacramento Kings a 116-112 overtime victory against the Cavaliers on Wednesday after James missed a deep 3-pointer with 10 seconds left that would’ve tied the game.

James finished with his second triple-double in as many games with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, but the defending champs lost for the sixth time in their last eight games.

Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer with 7:43 to play in regulation put the Cavs ahead 97-87, but the Kings scored the game’s next 11 points to take the lead in what has been a recurring problem for the Cavs this season.

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Pelicans 124, Cavs 122; Jason Lloyd's 30 thoughts on the night LeBron James nuked the Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 24, 2017

NEW ORLEANS: Thirty thoughts for 30 bombs lobbed by LeBron James following Monday’s 124-122 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans…

1.    For weeks now, LeBron James’ drumbeat has remained consistent: “Get me more help. We need more playmakers. We need a backup point guard.” He said it privately in the locker room after games and publicly when cameras were rolling. It was the first thing he said after the Cavs traded for Kyle Korver. He said it and said it and said it.

2.    Following this loss to the Pelicans, on a night All-Star Anthony Davis sat with a leg injury, James’ message grew louder and more powerful. The Cavs have lost five of seven with him in the lineup for the first time since he returned to Cleveland. Now he’s roaring loud enough for everyone to hear.

3.    “We’re not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint … we’re a top-heavy team,” James said, adding a few minutes later, “I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization. I just hope we not satisfied. How hard it was to do that s---. I just hope we’re not satisfied.”

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Cavs lose for fifth time in seven games despite big nights from LeBron James, Kyrie Irving

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 23, 2017

NEW ORLEANS: Hours before the game, before the New Orleans Pelicans shot holes across the Cavs’ defense, LeBron James insisted it didn’t feel as if the Cavs were in a slump.

It’s hard to deny it now. This team isn’t playing well and hasn’t been for a couple weeks. Monday’s 124-122 loss at the New Orleans Pelicans was further proof, handing the Cavs their fifth defeat in their last seven games.

Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 49 points, the most of any Cavs player this season, and LeBron James registered his third triple-double of the season and 46th of his career. Yet the Cavs still lost on a night the Pelicans were without All-Star Anthony Davis.

Davis missed the game with a leg injury and the Pelicans still led the entire night. Kevin Love scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while James had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, but New Orleans joined Utah and Portland as cities the Cavs haven’t won in since James returned to Cleveland in 2014.

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Cavs stumbling, but LeBron James doesn't think they're slumping

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 23, 2017

NEW ORLEANS: For only the second time since the start of last season and the first time since Tyronn Lue took over as head coach, the Cavaliers have lost 4 of 6 entering Monday’s game at New Orleans. LeBron James, however, doesn’t believe they’re in a slump.

Two of those losses were against the two teams with the best records in the NBA. The others were at Portland and Utah, two places the Cavs haven’t won since James returned to Cleveland.

“It don’t even feel like we’ve lost four out of six, to be honest,” James said. “We’re still first place in our conference, we’re still one of the best teams in the league. It’s not a big issue. It’s things that we’ll iron out."

James will play Monday night against the Pelicans despite playing 45 minutes in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Spurs. He believes brief absences by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love disrupted some of their rhythm recently, as did incorporating Kyle Korver. James is almost single-handedly responsible for getting Korver acclimated to the Cavs.

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Spurs 118, Cavs 115; Jason Lloyd's 14 thoughts on a bad punch and a blown hammer

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 22, 2017

CLEVELAND: Fourteen thoughts for 14 rebounds from Tristan Thompson in Saturday’s 118-115 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs…

1.    LeBron James stood annoyed at his teammates on at least two separate occasions Saturday night: When Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson botched a play late in overtime and when Kevin Love fired a pass to Kawhi Leonard when he tried saving the ball from going out of bounds.

2.    First, the “Punch Snap Hammer” play that ESPN’s Dave McMenamin brilliantly broke down. The Cavs tried running it again trailing 116-113 with 24 seconds left. Coming out of a timeout, or ATO (after timeout) is the perfect time to pull it off. But Irving and/or Thompson botched the play.

3.    Thompson was supposed to turn around in the lane and set the screen on Danny Green, allowing Irving to flare to the corner. Only Thompson never set the screen and instead went to the basket. Even without the screen, Irving had the chance to get to the corner, but instead stood still.

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Kawhi Leonard scores career-high 41 points in Spurs' 118-115 win over Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 21, 2017

CLEVELAND -- Kawhi Leonard capped his career-high, 41-point night with a dunk in the final seconds and the San Antonio Spurs held on for a 118-115 overtime victory Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

LeBron James tied up Leonard for a jump ball with 13 seconds left and the Cavs down 3. James won the tip, but the ball was headed out of bounds when Kevin Love saved it and fired it behind his back inbounds. Leonard caught the pass and sprinted to the other end for the dunk and the clincher with four seconds left.

After LaMarcus Aldridge missed a pair of free throws in the final second of overtime and the Cavs called timeout, Kevin Love missed a corner 3-pointer at the buzzer that would’ve forced double overtime. Love shot just 3 of 11 from the 3-point line Saturday.

The Cavs had plenty of chances late, but went scoreless for about two minutes late in overtime. James received an inbounds pass with 24 seconds left and a chance to tie with a 3-pointer. He fired a bounce pass to the corner, but no one was standing there on the busted play. James expected Kyrie Irving to cut to the corner, but he never did and James was charged with his seventh turnover of the night.

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Transcript: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich calls Trump a bully, rips those around him

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 21, 2017

CLEVELAND: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called President Donald Trump a bully and drew a line between respecting the office of the presidency and respecting the man holding office in more blistering comments Saturday prior to San Antonio’s game against the Cavs.

Here is a full transcript of Popovich's remarks made in response to the women's marches held across the country Saturday in protest of Trump:

“The march today was great. That message is important and it could have been a whole lot of groups marching. And somebody said on TV, ‘What’s their message?’ Well, their message is obvious. Our president comes in with the lowest (approval) rating of anybody whoever came into the office. And there’s a majority of people out there, since Hillary won the popular vote, that don’t buy his act. And I just wish that he was more – had the ability to be more – mature enough to do something that really is inclusive rather than just talking and saying, ‘I’m going to include everybody.’ He could talk to the groups that he disrespected and maligned during the primary and really make somebody believe it. But so far, we’ve got (to) a point where you really can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth. You really can’t.

“All those thousands that were over on the rooftops after 9/11? There were like two. And, ‘We went to Hawaii and checked (Barack Obama’s) birth certificate and investigators couldn’t believe what they found!’ There wasn’t anything there. That kind of thing. So, it’s over and over and over again.

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Cavs 118, Suns 103; Jason Lloyd's 36 thoughts on LeBron's passing, All-Star ballots and the Spurs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 20, 2017

CLEVELAND: Thirty-six thoughts for 36 rebounds in Thursday’s 118-103 win over the Phoenix Suns…

1.     Tyronn Lue thought the best way to remind the Cavs about the good old days was with some visual reinforcement. In this case, the good old days were a few weeks ago when the ball was moving and the assist totals were climbing.

2.     Since the start of the new year, the Cavs were last in the league in assists, averaging 16.3 per game. Through the end of 2016, they ranked 10th and averaged 22.6. Factoring in 3-pointers, Lue figured that’s a difference of about 17 points a night.

3.     The reasons why can vary, but it became clear by the end of the trip that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were holding onto the ball too long at times, there wasn’t enough movement offensively and the ball wasn’t swinging from side-to-side. The Suns are hardly the ’85 Bears in terms of defensive tenacity, but for one night the Cavs played the way they’re accustomed to playing.  

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LeBron James falls one rebound shy of triple-double in Cavs' 118-103 win over Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving celebrated being named Eastern Conference All-Star starters the only way they know how: They shined in the Cavs’ 118-103 victory Thursday against the Phoenix Suns.

James scored 21 points, matched his season-high with 15 assists and grabbed nine rebounds to fall one shy of a triple-double. Irving scored 26 points for the Cavs, who broke out of a shooting funk to beat the Suns for the second time in 11 days. They won for just the second time in their last five games.

The Cavs led by 21 late in the first half and were never really threatened by a Suns team with the worst record in the Western Conference.

James and Irving were named All-Star starters right around tip-off on a night Kevin Love missed the game with a sore back. Love was considered a game-time decision after he missed the second half of Monday’s blowout loss to Golden State. He didn’t believe he’d miss any time with it, but he didn’t participate in contact drills during Wednesday’s practice and then couldn’t make it through Thursday’s shootaround.

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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving named All-Star starters

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were both elected Thursday to start the All-Star game for the Eastern Conference. It is James' 13th appearance (all starts) while Irving has made the team for the fourth time in his six seasons. 

James led all players in voting and will become the fifth player in NBA history to start at least 13 All-Star games, joining Kobe Bryant (18), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (14), Bob Cousy (13) and Michael Jordan (13). Irving, meanwhile, won the All-Star MVP award in 2014. 

James acknowledged it means more to be the top vote getter yet again. 

"I think from the standpoint of people enjoy the way I play the game, they respect the way I play the game and at this point in my career I'm still doing something right," James said. "Makes me proud, makes my family proud and my support system so it's cool in that sense."

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Kevin Love will not play vs. Suns, James Jones to start in his place

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2017

CLEVELAND: Kevin Love will not play Thursday when the Cavs host the Phoenix Suns, coach Tyronn Lue said. James Jones will start in his place.

Love did not play in the second half of Monday’s blowout loss at Golden State because of tightness in his lower back. He didn’t believe it was serious and said after the game he didn’t believe he’d miss any time.

“He came in from trying to do half of the activities yesterday and today he couldn’t get through shootaround,” Lue said Thursday. “We have to sit him out.”

This will mark Jones' first start in nearly two years. Lue said he considered starting Kyle Korver and shifting LeBron James to power forward, but settled on the little-used Jones. 

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Kevin Love considered questionable for Thursday's game against Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 18, 2017

INDEPENDENCE: Kevin Love did not participate in any contact portion of practice Wednesday and is considered questionable for Thursday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.

Love sat the second half of Sunday’s blowout loss at Golden State because of tightness in his lower back. Love said it wasn’t serious and he didn’t expect to miss any time, but the Cavs have been conservative even with minor ailments this season. Love’s back has given him trouble before.

“He only went through half the practice,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “Not sure how he’s going to feel tomorrow.”

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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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Portland blizzard wreaking havoc on Cavs' travel plans

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 11, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY: A rare winter blizzard wreaked havoc on Portland and the Cavs’ travel plans early Wednesday morning.

The Cavs were grounded on the tarmac for more than two hours following their loss at Utah on Tuesday because Portland is getting buried in 4-8 inches of snow, according to The Oregonian.

The charter flight eventually departed and landed safely in Portland around 5:15 a.m. EST, a team spokesman said, even though they weren't sure they'd be able to land in Portland when they took off. The Cavs' backup plan was to land in Seattle and bus to Portland, but that ultimately wasn't necessary.

The Blazers, who beat the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Tuesday, curiously had to land in Seattle even though the Cavs plane reached Portland first. The Blazers also took off from Los Angeles knowing they may not be able to land in Portland.

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Turnovers, assists doom Cavs in 100-92 loss to Jazz in Kyle Korver's debut

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 10, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY: The addition of one of the league’s best 3-point shooters did little to help the Cavs’ issues with turnovers and assists Tuesday night. In fact, Kyle Korver didn’t even make a 3-pointer in his debut.

LeBron James scored 29 points and Kyrie Irving scored 20, but the Cavs’ problems in Utah continued with a 100-92 loss to the Jazz. The Cavs committed 18 turnovers after they had 20 in Sunday’s win at Phoenix.

Ball movement continues to be an issue as well. The Cavs did not record an assist in the second quarter and finished with 15. They’re now averaging 15.8 assists in their last six games.

The Utah mountains historically have not been kind to James and his mates. Despite his best efforts, James has lost his last six games in this arena. In fact, the trio of James, Irving and Kevin Love are now a combined 10-22 inside Vivint Smart Home Arena.

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Kyle Korver calls Cavs 'most talented team I've ever been on'

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 10, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY: Kyle Korver spent the last six years trying unsuccessfully to beat LeBron James in the postseason. Now the two are teammates. Korver acknowledged Tuesday before his Cavaliers debut that it took a little while to process that.

“I feel like I’ve been trying to beat this team or beat Miami for a lot of years, you know?” Korver said. “So to be on this team now, I need to play a game with the jersey on before I believe it.”

The Cavs and Hawks finalized their deal Tuesday when Mike Dunleavy reported to Atlanta, but not in time for Korver to participate in the team’s morning shootaround. That meant he was coming in cold against the Jazz.

Korver, who turns 36 in March, was averaging 9.5 points and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range with the Hawks. Coach Tyronn Lue is bringing him off the bench Tuesday, as expected, but left open the door to possibly starting him in the future. Asked if Korver in a bench role is temporary or long term, Lue simply said, “We’ll see.”

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Cavs 120, Suns 116; Jason Lloyd's 15 thoughts on ball movement, turnovers and Michael Phelps

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 9, 2017

PHOENIX: Fifteen thoughts for 15 assists in Sunday’s 120-116 win over the Phoenix Suns…,

1.     The Cavs are 2-0 on this six-game road trip, but they’re making it much more difficult on themselves than it needs to be. They’ve blown big leads against two of the worst teams in the league and both nights had to slug out a win in the fourth quarter.

2.     Friday at Brooklyn, the Cavs led by 24 with 16 minutes left in the game, but let the Nets get within seven late in the fourth quarter. Sunday was even more egregious. They led by 20 with 9:43 left in the third quarter and the Suns had the game tied before the end of the quarter.

3.     “We play the right way and then we relax,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “We just messed around with the game the last two games. When you’re up 20, we’ve got to put teams away. Right now we’re not doing that.”

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Big fourth quarter from LeBron salvages 120-116 win over Suns after Cavs blow big lead

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 8, 2017

PHOENIX: The lead was 20 with 22 minutes left against one of the league’s worst teams, yet somehow the Cavs played themselves into the position of needing big baskets from their stars down the stretch to escape Phoenix with a 120-116 victory Sunday.

Consecutive 3-pointers from LeBron James, including one from 27 feet, extended the Cavs’ lead to 115-109 with under three minutes to play. His driving layup in the final minute extended the lead to 120-114 and seemingly put the game away. It was a victory, but it was much more difficult than necessary.

With newest acquisition Kyle Korver watching from the locker room, James scored 28 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and added eight rebounds and four assists. Kyrie Irving had 27 points and seven assists and Kevin Love had 25 points and 10 rebounds in the win, the fourth-straight against the Suns to tie their longest streak in series history. But the Suns didn’t go quietly.

The Cavs built a 22-point lead in the first half and still led by 20 early in the third before giving it all away.

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Korver scheduled to join Cavs Sunday, debut Tuesday at Utah; Jordan McRae survives cut-down day

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 8, 2017

PHOENIX: Kyle Korver is scheduled to join the Cavs this afternoon, but it’s doubtful he will be cleared in time to play in tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns.

The medicals of the trade have not been completed, and while no one is expecting any flags at this point, the plan all along was for Korver to participate in Monday’s practice here before debuting Tuesday against the Utah Jazz.

Jordan McRae also survived cut-down day across the NBA. Players on non-guaranteed contracts, such as McRae and DeAndre Liggins, had to be waived by Saturday in order to clear waivers before their contracts become fully guaranteed.

“I told you guys that he would be here,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “It’s great for him, for Liggins, for young guys to make the team, just shows all the hard work they’ve put in. They continue to grow as players, get better and better, so I’m happy for them.”

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Cavs officially obtain Kyle Korver in exchange for Mike Dunleavy, Mo Williams and draft pick

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 7, 2017

NEW YORK: Kyle Korver is officially a Cleveland Cavalier.

After two days of trade speculation, the Cavs and Hawks both announced the completed deal Saturday, which sends Mo Williams, Mike Dunleavy and a 2019 first-round pick to the Hawks in exchange for Korver, the career 43-percent 3-point shooter who turns 36 in March.

The pick is top 10 protected in both 2019 and 2020, according to one league source. If it hasn’t transferred by then (highly unlikely), it becomes two second-round picks in 2021 and 2022.

Korver must still pass a physical, but one source said the Cavs are hopeful he can join them in time for practice Monday in Phoenix. That would allow for his debut to be Tuesday at the Utah Jazz. But the timetables are fluid and nothing is yet definitive. He is not expected to be ready for Sunday's game against the Suns.

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Cavs 116, Nets 108; Jason Lloyd's 16 thoughts on Kyrie Irving's return and Kyle Korver's sweet spot

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 6, 2017

NEW YORK: Sixteen thoughts for 16 shots by Kevin Love in Friday’s 116-108 win over the Brooklyn Nets…

1.     The heckler was seated in the first row near the Cavs’ basket, a good 25 feet from the playing court. After Kyrie Irving blew about his fourth layup in the first half, the man started barking at Irving about all the missed shots.

2.     “Relax man, relax!” Irving told him, pumping his arms for effect. “It’s a long game. You came for a show. Enjoy the show.”

3.     By the fourth quarter, Irving was the star of the show. He missed three games with a sore right hamstring and needed three quarters Friday to get the engines revving. Once they did, he was unstoppable.

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LeBron James scores 36, Kyrie Irving scores 32 in Cavs' 116-108 win over Nets

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 6, 2017

NEW YORK: Kyrie Irving arrived for the team’s morning shootaround early Friday to get some extra work in. He was the first one out of the locker room during halftime to get some extra shots.

By the fourth quarter Friday, all of the extra shots paid off. Irving scored 32 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter of a 116-108 win against the Brooklyn Nets as they await the arrival of Kyle Korver. It was Irving’s first game back after missing three with a tight right hamstring. After a sluggish 4 of 14 start in the first half, Irving caught fire.

His consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth extended the lead back to 14 after the Nets cut an 18-point lead down to six. LeBron James scored 36 points, grabbed nine rebounds and passed for six assists while Kevin Love had 17 points and 13 rebounds after missing one game with food poisoning. Love was so sick he came close to driving himself to the emergency room in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

“I’ve never had food poisoning quite like that where every few minutes, it’d come right out,” he said. “Sit back down, come right out. It was bad. But feel good now.”

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Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love expected to return to lineup against Nets

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 6, 2017

NEW YORK: Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will return to the starting lineup Friday when the Cavs begin a six-game road trip at the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving has missed the last three games with a right hamstring injury, but he beat the rest of the team to shootaround Friday morning to get early shots up. Love missed Wednesday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls with a violent case of food poisoning that nearly sent him to the emergency room during the early hours of New Year’s Day.

“I’ve never had food poisoning quite like that where every few minutes, it’d come right out,” he said. “Sit back down, come right out. It was bad. But feel good now.”

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Korver to come off bench with Cavs; LeBron James still pushing for another point guard

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 6, 2017

NEW YORK: The Cavaliers cleaned up some bookkeeping matters with the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, clearing the way for Kyle Korver to come to Cleveland.

Mo Williams is joining Mike Dunleavy in the trade to the Atlanta Hawks, multiple sources confirmed to the Beacon Journal. Williams’ inclusion will cut payroll while freeing up a much-needed roster spot

The Cavs traded the Blazers their unprotected pick in the 2017 draft Friday in exchange for getting back the 2018 pick they sent away as compensation for Portland taking on Anderson Varejao’s contract at last year’s trade deadline. At the time, league rules prevented Cavs General Manager David Griffin from trading his ’17 pick.  

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Bulls 106, Cavs 94; Jason Lloyd's 23 thoughts on point guards, sick LeBron and a thin roster

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 5, 2017

CLEVELAND: Twenty-three thoughts for 23 first-quarter points in Wednesday’s 106-94 loss to the Chicago Bulls…

1.     One of the underlying themes throughout the first half of this season is how well the Cavs have managed to play without a backup point guard Ty Lue trusts. LeBron James’ presence can cover many sins, but this was one of those nights when the lack of a veteran ball handler was glaring.  

2.     The Cavs only committed 15 turnovers, which is not an exorbitant figure for an NBA game. But the Cavs had eight turnovers and zero assists in the fourth quarter Wednesday with Kay Felder, an actual point guard, on the floor for more than nine minutes. Yet despite all that, somehow they still were within one point with 6:48 to play in the game.

3.     It isn’t just someone who can bring the ball up and run pick-and-roll or get the offense into a set. They lack another creator who can get quality shots for others. Felder has shown some confidence and considerable improvement the last few games, but no one is ready to anoint him the answer. As a second-round pick, Felder barely has his own nose above the NBA waters right now. He can’t be expected to consistently set up others.

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LeBron James will play against Bulls, but Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love both ruled out

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 4, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James will play tonight when the Cavs host the Chicago Bulls, but they will be without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. James missed shootaround Wednesday morning because he was ill. 

This marks the third game Irving has missed with his hamstring injury and Love tried fighting through his symptoms Monday before subbing out in the fourth quarter. The Cavs maintain, however, that Love has food poisoning and not the flu that seems to be ripping through the NBA.

Love has lost 10 pounds as a result, although coach Tyronn Lue said he has not been hospitalized at any point.

“He couldn’t keep food down and he got weaker,” Lue said of Love. “Not being able to keep the fluids down and not being able to catch up with his weight, (the training staff) thought it’d be better to give him another day and bring him back Friday.”

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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love all questionable for Wednesday's game against Bulls

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 4, 2017

INDEPENDENCE: The Cavaliers’ Big Three remain the Wounded Three. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are all listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Chicago Bulls.

James missed shootaround Wednesday because he is sick, Love missed shootaround because he’s still not feeling well following what he believes was a bout with food poisoning, while Irving participated in shootaround, but remains questionable with a right hamstring injury. Mike Dunleavy is also questionable with a right ankle injury.

James admitted after Monday’s win against the New Orleans Pelicans he wasn’t feeling well and left the arena with a bag full of medicine. The Cavs told him to stay home Wednesday morning and rest. Love showed up, but left early. Irving and Dunleavy have missed the last two games.

“It’s a long season. Guys will get banged up, sick, whatever the case may be,” said Tristan Thompson, one of the few healthy players remaining and owner of the longest active consecutive games played streak in the NBA. “But the ironman is going to find a way to be able to put it together tonight and go out and compete.”

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Cavs 90, Pelicans 82; Jason Lloyd's 21 thoughts on Wounded Three, Kay Felder and James Jones

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 3, 2017

CLEVELAND: Twenty-one thoughts for 21 shots by LeBron James in Monday’s 90-82 win over the New Orleans Pelicans…

1.     LeBron James left the locker room with a Ziploc bag of Airborne and Tylenol PM. Kevin Love left during the fourth quarter because he’s been ill for days and Kyrie Irving was back in street clothes because of a hamstring injury that initially wasn’t believed to be that serious.

2.     The Cavs’ Big Three have been reduced to the Wounded Three. Yet they still managed to gut out a win against a Pelicans team that entered riding a four-game winning streak.

3.     Tyronn Lue said Love has lost 10 pounds the last two days with what they believe to be food poisoning. Love believes he got it from eating a piece of sea bass on the team’s flight home from Charlotte on New Year’s Eve. Lue ate two pieces of it and said he felt fine.

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LeBron James, bench carry Cavs to 90-82 win over Pelicans on night starters struggle

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2017

CLEVELAND: His star point guard is still injured and his star power forward wasn't feeling well and couldn’t make a shot. So Tyronn Lue did the only thing left: He turned to his last remaining healthy body and his undersized rookie point guard. Then he sat back and watched James Jones and Kay Felder spark the Cavs on a night few others could.

LeBron James scored 26 points and Channing Frye added 14 off the bench and the Cavs escaped with a 90-82 victory Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans on a night they struggled shooting. They may not have won if not for guys like Jones and Felder.

Kevin Love scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds before departing for the locker room late in the fourth quarter because the team said he was ill. He shot just 5-of-19 and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts. The starting backcourt of DeAndre Liggins and Jordan McRae combined to shoot just 2-of-10 in 34 minutes and neither appeared in the fourth quarter. The Cavs shot 37.8 percent – one of their worst-shooting nights of the season.

All Cavs players not named Frye were a combined 0-for-17 shooting 3s when Lue inserted Jones with 2:32 left in the third and the Cavs trailing 65-61. Jones played just eight minutes, but made his first 3-point attempt, then followed it up with a defensive poke away that forced a turnover and an assist to James at the other end.

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Kyrie Irving out against Pelicans; McRae to start again in his place

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2017

CLEVELAND: Kyrie Irving will miss his second game with a sore right hamstring Monday when the Cavs host the New Orleans Pelicans. Jordan McRae will again start in his place.

Coach Tyronn Lue said the team has not done any sort of imaging and they’re still calling it tightness in the hamstring. Lue, who originally thought Irving wouldn’t miss any time because of it, isn’t making any predictions now about when Irving might return. The Cavs next play Wednesday when they host the Chicago Bulls.

McRae scored a season-high 20 points in Saturday’s win at the Charlotte Hornets. Lue also liked his defense on Hornets guard Nic Batum.

“It’s hard to score the basketball when you’re playing spurt minutes and you’re not really in the rotation every single night,” Lue said. “Giving him the chance to start last game, he came in and he produced and he played well. So hopefully we get the same input from him tonight.”

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