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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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