Notes, quotes and observations after the Cavaliers suffered their second-worst loss of the season, 120-88, to the Houston Rockets Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

1. As Isaiah Thomas observed afterward, “Another embarrassing loss. Something gotta change.”

2. But the major question is whether the Cavs’ continuing free fall, now 6-12 since Christmas and with four losses by 24 points or more, will prompt owner Dan Gilbert to allow general manager Koby Altman to make moves before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.

3. And if so, how drastic will they be?

4. Will the Cavs give up on Thomas, virtually unplayable 13 games into his comeback from a torn labrum in his right hip, and use his expiring contract in a package deal? Will they find a way to dump struggling J.R. Smith, who is making $13.7 million this season and has two more years left on his contract? Are the days numbered for Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder and/or Iman Shumpert?

5. Very few seem safe. But ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported after the game that Tyronn Lue will not take the fall, quoting a team official as saying, “We are not firing our head coach.”

6. Lue was tough on his team in his post-game press conference, just as he was when he when he told ABC’s Lisa Salters at halftime that the Cavs were soft.

7. Asked to describe the Cavs’ play, Lue said, “Bad. Very bad. Wasn’t physical at all. I think they just made things tough for us and we just went the other way. I didn’t think we really knuckled down and joined the fight.”

8. Lue still believes the Cavs can be the best team in the Eastern Conference, but said their mindset has to change.

9. “What we’re really playing for. Are we playing to win or are we playing to look good?” Lue said. “We have to be tougher. It’s tough for me because that’s how I got here. But we just have to be tougher mentally and physically. I think when things get tough we have to be tougher.”

10. Even though at this point the Cavs appear headed for an early playoff exit, Lue doesn’t believe a country club environment, like their trip to Napa or extended stays in Toronto or Orlando this season has made his team soft.

11. “No. We did it for three straight years and went to three straight Finals. You didn’t say it then. So why bring it up now?” he said.

12. But Lue also refuses to bench struggling players and use only his best lineups, which wouldn’t include Thomas.

13. “If we did that, guys wouldn’t play. You can’t do that. Guys are back, guys who coming into the season we knew were going to play,” Lue said, sounding like he was aware the question referred to Thomas. “So we’re struggling right now, but we can’t go backwards right now, no.”

14. It is clear how dire the situation is, how desperately something needs to be done, by the listlessness of LeBron James.

15. In past seasons, James played his best in big games on national television. This season the Cavs are 0-8 in games televised by ABC, ESPN and TNT.

16. “We gotta stop worrying about the past. This is this season and we haven’t played well versus anyone,” James said.

17. Earlier this season, James would turn it on in the fourth quarter and lead the Cavs to victory.

18. That couldn’t have happened in this one, with the Cavs down by 35 in the third quarter and Lue sitting him for all of the fourth. But James seems to be sending a message with his malaise.

19. If the Cavs stand pat at the deadline even though they have two first-round picks, they might as well be telling James to go ahead and opt of his contract in July and sign elsewhere in free agency.

20. The Cavs’ situation seems so dire that reaching a fourth consecutive NBA Finals with the current roster appears impossible.

21. The Cavs are old, slow and uninspired. They don’t like each other. The atmosphere begs for change.

22. "I’m lost for words, actually,” James said. “Going 0-8 on national television. They should take us off every nationally televised game for the rest of the season. We haven’t played good ball and we get our butts kicked every time.”

23. But with five days until the trade deadline, James would not publicly call for personnel upgrades.

24. “That’s not a question for me,” he said. “I show up to work every day. I bust my tail every day. I’m the first one to get to the gym and I’m one of the last ones to leave. I do my part. I control what
I can control and that is what I can control.”

25. Asked if he’s ever been in a situation where he didn’t know what to do, James said, “Well, that’s two different things, me being a player and trying to fix things. I think we have to play better, obviously, and the question he asked is from the GM perspective. I’m not the GM and I don’t make those calls, so I can’t control that.”

26. Since Jan. 3, the Cavs have also lost 102-88 at Boston, 127-99 at Minnesota, 133-99 at Toronto and 148-124 at home against Oklahoma City. The Timberwolves visit Wednesday for an ESPN game, setting up for another rout unless there are attitude or personnel changes by then. On March 11 they play another ABC game against East-leading Boston at TD Garden.

27. After a tough week in which his agent and father figure Henry Thomas died, Dwyane Wade was brutally honest.

28. “We’ve performed like this a lot of times this season, so no different tonight,” Wade said.

29. The Cavs will leave Sunday afternoon for Orlando, arriving before kickoff of the Super Bowl so they can hold a team watch party. They will practice there Monday before Tuesday’s game against the Magic, whom they beat twice in January.

30. Asked how the Cavs get past this, Wade said, “Get on the plane tomorrow and go to Orlando. There’s no magic dust we’re going to be able to sprinkle on top of it. We played a team that was better than us tonight. We played a team that’s better than a lot of teams. They kicked our butt like they’ve done many.”

31. Wade would not dispute Lue’s criticism that the Cavs are soft.

32. ““He just said that and I said I’m not going to argue. We got our butt kicked,” Wade said.

33. But Thomas wasn’t as agreeable.

34. “That could have been one of the reasons it was a loss like it was, but we can’t just say it was toughness. All they do is shoot 3s. I don’t know what’s so tough about that,” Thomas said after the Rockets tied the Cavs’ record for 3-pointers made by an opponent with 19. They shot 51, obliterating the previous mark of 46 they held with the Nets, both coming earlier this season. “They put you in tough situations. You’ve got to pick and choose what you want to take away and they’re a hard team to guard. But that still is no excuse for the way we played on both ends. We’ve got to figure something out and do better.”

35. Thomas again pointed to the Cavs lack of trust on offense and defense.

36. “There’s a lot of one-on-one on the offense end, maybe because we don’t trust each other. And then on the defensive end, it’s the same thing,” he said. “Guys are put on islands and there’s no trust.

37. “Our offense has to be way better. We have to learn to execute, get the ball moving side to side. But it starts on the defensive end and it’s all everybody for themselves on that end and that’s not how a good defensive team is supposed to be.”

38. Thomas said getting more time together in games won’t automatically foster that trust.

39. “That helps. But we’ve been practicing a little bit more and watching film. Trust is from being out there in the battle together and knowing, ‘OK, if I get beat, the next guy’s got me,’” Thomas said. “If the next guy’s helping up, somebody else has got him on the backside,” he said. “We don’t have that at all on that end of the floor.”

40. James acknowledged that sometimes he needs help as well.

41. “I do my job, and I try to do even more and I try to pick up and I hope guys pick up for me, too, when I’m not doing my job as well,” James said. “That’s what a team is all about, being able to pick up a brother when they need a little help, but right now it’s not working to our favor.”

42. But as Thomas rightly observed, the Cavs are not giving maximum effort.

43. “It is an effort thing. Teams are out-hustling us and that can fall into the toughness category as well,” Thomas said. “I don’t know the last time we got on the floor for a loose ball. I know that teams I’ve been on, defense is determined on deflections, steals, loose balls, who’s the hardest working team on that end. We don’t have that right now.”