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Cavs 126, Knicks 94; Jason Lloyd's 12 thoughts on defense and water bottles

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 8, 2016

NEW YORK: Twelve thoughts for 12 turnovers in Wednesday’s 126-94 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden…

1.     If the five days off last month disrupted the Cavs’ rhythm, Sunday’s film session and practice in Toronto seems to have realigned them. For the second time in as many games, the defensive effort was dramatically better than it was during the three-game losing streak.

2.     The season-high 22 3-pointers will grab the attention, but this team is always capable of making a flurry of 3s. The Cavs limiting the Knicks to 28 points in the paint, just as they held the Raptors to 32 on Monday, is a more telling number. That’s a vast improvement from the 51 points teams were scoring on them in the lane in the previous five games.

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Cavs make season-high 22 3-pointers in 126-94 win over Knicks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 7, 2016

NEW YORK: He said it with disdain in his voice, the defensive coach for so many years acknowledging what has become apparent through the first quarter of this season. The Cavs’ identity is built on their offense right now, nothing else.

Tyronn Lue is trying to turn that. The defensive effort was evident in Wednesday’s 126-94 dismantling of the New York Knicks, the second time in as many games the Cavs remembered their defensive principles. The offensive explosion with this team is always looming and surfaced again Wednesday with a season-high 22 3-pointers. The defensive effort comes and goes.

LeBron James scored 25 points, passed for seven assists and grabbed six rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 28 points and passed for six assists. Tristan Thompson grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds, one shy of his career high, and Kevin Love had 21 points for the Cavs, who shot their way to a sixth straight win at Madison Square Garden and their eighth-straight win overall in this series. The Knicks are vastly improved this season, but they’re not yet ready to compete with the league’s elite.

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LeBron James calls decision not to stay at Trump hotel 'personal preference'

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 7, 2016

NEW YORK: LeBron James wished President-elect Donald Trump well and likened his decision not to stay with the team at Trump SoHo to choosing between chicken and steak.

For the first time in his career, James stayed separate from his teammates as a sort of protest against Trump, whom he was sharply critical of in the weeks leading up to the election. Trump no longer owns the SoHo hotel, but it still bears his name.

“I’m not trying to make a statement. It’s just my personal preference,” James said. “At the end of the day, I hope he’s one of the best presidents ever for all of our sake -- my family, for all of us. But it’s just my personal preference. It would be the same if I went to a restaurant and decided to eat chicken and not steak.”

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DeAndre Liggins will start in place of J.R. Smith against Knicks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 7, 2016

NEW YORK: DeAndre Liggins will start at shooting guard tonight when the Cavs play at the New York Knicks, coach Tyronn Lue said. Liggins is starting in place of J.R. Smith, who is out with a hyperextended left knee.

It will be the second start of Liggins’ career. His only other start was in 2013 with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“Just like the energy he brings,” Lue said. “When you get that kind of energy from a guy, I think it’s contagious. I think guys on the team play harder when they see him flying all around the floor.”

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J.R. Smith's MRI shows no structural damage, considered day-to-day

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 6, 2016

NEW YORK: An MRI on J.R. Smith’s ailing left knee showed no damage and the Cavs guard is listed as day to day, according to one source with knowledge of the injury. Smith, however, is unlikely to play Wednesday when the Cavs play at the New York Knicks.

Smith stopped awkwardly on his left knee during the first quarter of Monday’s win at Toronto. The knee had been bothering him for at least a week, although Smith refused to get it scanned.

Smith’s absence, even for a couple of games, further depletes a Cavs backcourt that is already without a backup point guard. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue used DeAndre Liggins in place of Smith Monday and Liggins responded with five points and five rebounds. He was also the only reserve who played more than 10 minutes and finished with a positive plus/minus.

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Cavs 116, Raptors 112; Jason Lloyd's 21 thoughts on J.R.'s knee, ending a skid and LeBron/Phil

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 6, 2016

TORONTO: Twenty-one thoughts for 21 assists in Monday’s 116-112 win over the Toronto Raptors…

1.     Ending this losing streak came with a price. How high it is won’t be known until J.R. Smith gets out of the MRI tube, but he was awfully dejected as he limped out of Air Canada Centre following the end to this three-game losing streak.

2.     An already thin backcourt, considering the Cavs are playing without a true backup point guard, took another blow Monday when Smith twisted his knee along the baseline following a basket. A knee that had previously given him problems buckled and Smith hobbled to the other end of the court before dropping to the floor.

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Bulls 111, Cavs 105; Jason Lloyd's 13 thoughts on the end to the Cavs' honeymoon phase

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 3, 2016

CHICAGO: Thirteen thoughts for 13 baskets by LeBron James in Friday’s 111-105 loss to the Chicago Bulls, extending the Cavs’ losing skid to three…

1.     When the Cavaliers smashed the Detroit Pistons 104-81 on Nov. 18, LeBron James was genuinely excited about the play on both sides of the ball. The Cavs clogged the lane on Andre Drummond and limited the Pistons to 26 points in the paint. James called it “the best we’ve played all year” on offense and defense.

2.     The players celebrated the convincing win and went their separate ways. With no games for five days, Tyronn Lue gave the players the weekend off. When they returned following the break, their defensive principles did not. They’ve been unraveling ever since.

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Bulls score 78 points in paint, send Cavs to third-straight loss with 111-105 win

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 2, 2016

CHICAGO: LeBron James dismissed any problems facing the Cavs following their second troubling loss in as many games Thursday when the Cavs lost to the Clippers. Lose three straight, James reasoned, and there’s something to talk about.

So, let’s talk,

The same problems that have plagued the Cavs all season – and have been exacerbated this week – resurfaced yet again in Friday’s 111-105 loss to the Chicago Bulls at United Center. The Bulls scored a staggering 78 points in the paint against an anemic Cleveland defense, the Bulls pounded the Cavs on the glass 49-33 and Rajon Rondo recorded his first triple-double in a Bulls uniform.

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James Jones says he plans to retire after next season, his 15th in NBA

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 2, 2016

CHICAGO: LeBron James has made it clear James Jones has a place on his team as long as he wants to keep playing. Jones has now decided when that will be.

Jones told the Beacon Journal he will retire after next season, which will be his 15th in the NBA. His ultimate dream is to ride off following three consecutive championships in Cleveland, he said Friday, although clearly there is a lot of work to do before that happens.

“I know playing 15 years is a number where I can look back and I can be like, ‘I accomplished something,” Jones said. “Fourteen vs. 15 may not be much, but to be able to say I played 15 years, that’s enough for me to hang ‘em up.”

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LeBron James fufills bet, arrives to Bulls game wearing Cubs jersey

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 2, 2016

CHICAGO: For one night only, LeBron James wore a Chicago No. 23 jersey Friday night.

James fulfilled his bet with Dwyane Wade and arrived at United Center dressed head to toe in Cubs gear after Chicago beat the Indians in the World Series. Wade set the terms of the bet in October and James quickly agreed. Friday he fulfilled his debt.

Wade met James as he arrived at the arena and the two shared laughs walking through the tunnels of the arena while a sea of cameras followed them. The jersey had the authentic World Series patch on the arm and “James 23” stitched across the back, invoking memories of another certain Chicago legend who wore No. 23.

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