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In his 15-season NBA career, there isn’t much, if anything, LeBron James has not seen.
So the 110-94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena, which dropped Cleveland’s record to 3-2 in games The New 4 of George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. have played, came as no surprise to the Cavaliers’ resident superstar.
“Did I not tell you guys this? Did I not tell you guys this — we’re going to have some games where we look great, we’re going to have games where we don’t look as great,” James said after the loss. “I think we played well tonight, we just didn’t make shots, same with the Washington game. I think we played well that night.”
In “the Washington game,” the Cavaliers made just 8-of-35 3-point attempts in a 110-103 to the Wizards on Thursday night in the first game coming out of the All-Star break. Against the Spurs on Sunday, Cleveland connected on just 8-of-30 from long distance.
The loss to San Antonio marks just the 13th time this season the Cavaliers (35-24) have not made at least 10 from deep this season. The defeat continues a pattern — Cleveland is just 3-10 in those games.
The last two losses, though, have come with Kevin Love sidelined. The Cavaliers’ All-Star forward, averaging 17.9 points and 9.4 rebounds a game while shooting 40.4 percent from 3, won’t be back for another few weeks after suffering a broken left hand in a loss at Detroit on Jan. 30.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue admits his squad misses Love’s nightly contributions.
Love, who broke a bone in his left hand on Jan. 30, is an All-Star averaging 17.9 points and 9.4 rebounds. He’s going to be out for at least another few weeks.
“We always need Kevin,” he said. “He’s an All-Star player. Of course if you lose an All-Star player, you’re always going to miss him, yeah.
“But he’s not here now so we’ve got to play without him.”
James, who finished one assist shy of a triple-double with 33 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in 40 minutes, said the Cavaliers are not discouraged by the loss.
“Defensively, we were in tune. They started making shots, we couldn’t make no shots,” he said. “It’s not a surprise, not to me. I know. I’ve been through this. There’s going to be a transition period.
“There’s going to be some games, like I said, where we play exceptionally well. There’s going to be some games where we could’ve played better, but one thing about it — I don’t fault our effort.”
Lue said the outcome came down to the Cavaliers not making shots and the Spurs (36-25) doing so, especially LaMarcus Aldridge — 27 points on 9-of-20 shooting, along with 9-of-10 from the line in 37 minutes.
“We just had a rough night shooting the basketball,” Lue said. “It’s going to happen. I thought defensively, we were pretty good. They end up shooting 44 percent, but at halftime, they shot 34 percent. I thought defensively, we were pretty good. I just thought Aldridge took advantage of us in that third quarter, the start of the third quarter on his postups.
“Overall, we did some good things but we still got to continue to get better.”