Dribbles: Time for Lue to regain control of Cavs

LeBron James scored 10 points and was overall shut down by Jimmy Butler and the Timberwolves.

Random dribbles following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 127-99 meltdown of a road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.

1. Where to begin? Honestly, there was nothing positive to take away from this one. The Cavs should’ve just kept on their warmups, shook the Timberwolves’ hands and headed straight back to the bus. It would’ve been considerably less embarrassing.

2. It’s easy to get all worked up and rip everyone after a loss like this, and that’s what I want to do. But I’m not going to. It really is just one game. And what difference does it make if the Cavs bounce back and win at Toronto on Thursday?

3. Knowing these Cavs, that could happen.

4. Knowing these Cavs, they could also go to Toronto and get drilled again.

5. Basically, do we really know these Cavs? Sometimes, it feels like it. But they seem to surround every winning streak with a couple of lousy bookends.

6. The Cavs started the season 5-7. Then they won 13 in a row and 18 of 19, looking like they were really coming together. Now, they’ve lost five of seven.

7. The Cavs have had three opportunities to make real statements in the past three weeks — at Golden State, at Boston, at Minnesota. They lost them all. Against the Celtics and Timberwolves, it wasn’t even close.

8. Kevin Love, who finished 1-of-7 shooting Monday, was atrocious against both the Celtics and T-Wolves. He was great against the Warriors.

9. I don’t get it, either. So don’t ask.

10. LeBron James, who is never atrocious, was not good. He took eight shots … for 10 points … and the Cavs were outscored by 39 when he was on the floor.

11. They say LeBron has played worse. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it. If I have, I sure don’t remember it.

12. Nor do I remember seeing James look so despondent after a loss. He sat in front of his locker, shirtless, looking down while scratching his head and sort of mumbling through answers.

13. LeBron on finishing with a plus-minus of minus-39: “I’ve won a game and had a bad plus-minus before, so what does that matter? I don’t give a damn about no damn plus/minus.”

14. Jeff Green actually led the Cavs with 22 points, and Kyle Korver scored 19. Dwayne Wade added 13. But each did most of his damage with the outcome decided. So, as LeBron might say, what does that matter?

15. I keep writing it, and J.R. Smith keeps giving me reason to write it. But something needs to be done. He is giving the Cavs nothing. He doesn’t defend well enough to provide zero offense. If he’s not scoring, and he’s not defending, well, why is he out there?

16. Sad to say it, but Jae Crowder isn’t exactly making opponents worry, either. He’s been OK defensively, but not enough to make up for his inconsistent offense. What does Crowder give you? Why does he absolutely, positively have to start?

18. Isaiah Thomas shot 3-of-11 and couldn’t get anything going. I don’t think you can hold this game against him. Everybody stunk. He just fell in line with his teammates — until getting ejected midway through the third quarter.

19. I know I’ve written way too much about this game already. You can read more of my thoughts right here.

20. In that story, you’ll see Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said no changes are coming to the lineup. I don’t believe him. I think Lue just didn’t want to tell the media before he told the players.

21. Why not start Tristan Thompson again and move Crowder to the bench? Or start Jeff Green, or Channing Frye? I have no clue what Thompson is adding to the team this season, other than staying active and playing hard. But he can’t score and he doesn’t protect the basket. His rebounding is way down. But hey, I’d start him if it meant mixing it up for a night.

22. Mostly, I think this team is screaming for yet another trade. They need a strong defender, preferably one at the rim. That will allow the wings to go out on shooters and not care if those shooters drive by.

23. The good news is, the Cavs are still 26-14. They are still very good in spite of some of their very obvious flaws. But Lue needs to get creative here, not be bull-headed, and start putting some winning combinations on the floor. Don’t mess around and wait until guys get it together. It’s getting too late for that.

11 Comments on "Dribbles: Time for Lue to regain control of Cavs"

  1. Hey Mr James, if youve had a bad plus minus before, in fact a plus minus of even -1, it wasnt YOU who won that game, it was YOUR TEAM, while you weren’t on the floor.

    Also, havent figured out why Crowder was handed the starting spot. He took bad out of rhythm shots in Boston, and he’s taking them in a Cavs uniform too. Cavs beat Boston last year, shouldnt our starters of last year theoretically have the upper hand? Its almost like the Cavs are trying to justify what they got back in the trade by pretending he’s a starter on this team.

    How about going back to last year’s starting 5 with just the changing of the guard? Or if we’re going on merit, let Jeff Green run with the starters and see how that works.

  2. Aurora Dizon | January 9, 2018 at 3:32 am |

    Lue cannot change anything because he is limited. Last year telling us his secret defense for the playoffs, did you see any secret defense. You will get the ire of Lebron if you remove his friends. He does not care for Cavaliers, he wants the owner down. I think Lue wants to be fired so he can get his big salary. He does not know what to do and his players are role players only.
    compare them to the Boston & Wolves players. Lebron is the only star and he is old. Kyrie is intelligent to leave the team, very good assessment of his teammates, saw they were not good. They will win if they get lucky in their shooting in the entire game. Korver cannot even shoot 20+ points. What kind of a shooter is that.

  3. Definitely saw this one coming… it was inevitable, feeling Minnesota like Chris Cornell. It’s gotta be DeAndre or bust. TT, JR and BKN pick for DAJ and Lou Williams. Yeah, Lou can’t play D, but what the hell is JR still doing in the starting line-up? We keep Shump for perimeter D. Keep Frye as a back up C. It’s time, Koby. Please get this done. And please fire Lue at the end of the season. Enough is enough with this guy.

  4. Macky de Claro | January 9, 2018 at 9:09 am |

    The CAVs suck! If Coach Lue wants his team to win, he should make a change in the lineup by putting Smith on the bench and put Rose (when he’s in shape to play) as shooting guard, and place Green or Korver as the small forward and Lebron playing as power forward while Crowder goes to the bench. The second team will compose of Wade, Smith, Green or Korver, Crowder and Thompson. Korver or Green has to start because to make any one of them effective in the offense, they need to sweat and get their feet warmer. Lue, as a coach, should know them better by now. If he still sticks to his lineup, being stubborn as he is right now, the Cavs will never make it to the NBA Finals. That is one thing for sure. Koby Altman, if he is really good as the Cavs GM, I think it would be better for him to make trade some players or perhaps even fire Lue as coach which he should have done some months back.

  5. No one player gained in a trade could have possibly changed this outcome. It’s inexcusable for Lue to not play Osman or Frye until garbage time, but even that wouldn’t have made any difference in this one. The Cavs played with ZERO effort from the opening tip and got man-handled as a result. They need a coach that can get them to play with effort. Based on the last three years, it rarely happens with Lue.

  6. I just don’t understand their “I don’t care attitude”. You have so many new players this year, yet as a team you don’t practice? IT said it best last night we he said that the only way he can work on his timing is in the game because “we don’t practice”. If this is because they are the oldest team in the NBA – then get younger. It has become very obvious to all this year the Lue is not running this team.

  7. Going on merit, speed, energy, and pace, the Cavs need to play the following ten-man rotation:
    C – Kevin Love / Channing Frye
    PF – Jeff Green / Tristan Thompson
    SF – LeBron James / Jae Crowder (or Iman Shumpert, if healthy – moves Korver to SF)
    2G – Cedi Osman / Kyle Korver
    PG – Isaiah Thomas / Dwyane Wade (or Derrick Rose, if healthy)

    The Cavs MUST improve their defense, or they are toast this season.

  8. Time for Lue to go! He has allowed TT to destroy all the Chemistry the second unit had in WINNING Games while TT was absent. The spacing of having FRYE in kept opposing rim protectors at bay, allowing slicing through to the basket OR toss out for easy 3 pointers! That CAN NOT happen when Thompson is in & Lue can’t recognize that ????
    That same destruction of Chemistry of the second unit has NOW lapsed over even to the 1 unit last night. It’s downhill from here if they continue to use TT. Bye the way, this is a team that NEED NO PRACTICES, Lue ?????

    Pretty sure the T-Wolves practiced recently !!! AND IT SHOWED.
    Just continually playing some dumb stuff with NO defense. They CAN do better, but TT switches all the time(even when NOT necessary) to try to guard a smaller guard with resulting mismatches either an easy 3ball because he’s not close enough or they throw over him to the roller for an easy shot at the rim. He IS NOT an asset any longer.
    Trade Time, KEEP the old second unit with Channing, Green, D-Wade,–theyve got shooters. I’ve been wanting all year for JR Swish to appear, but Alas, it looks like trade time for him too. He appears to fearful to shoot wide open shots that are given to him ????? Koby A. needs a rim protector(Not Jordan) and a new two-way shooting guard that will attend TEAM Practices directed by a NEW COACH(one that would even take a hit for a tech on the inadequacy of officiating too) & all should improve.

    • Ok DR, that was a good read… you mention that Cavs need a rim protector, but say not Jordan. Than who do you think Cavs should bring in there? Chandler from Phoenix. Marc Gasol is slowing down on defense with age, but he could get a second wind with the Cavs. Also, Gasol has a huge, lengthy contract. Not worth it. Plus, I hear LeBron hates Gasol (just a rumor, I have no proof).

      Can’t think of other guys who would fit there. Who ya got?

      Yeah, that 2 guard position looks weak, but mainly because of JR’s spaced out performances. I wanted him to play like a god this year, but his big contract has made him lose the edge when he played in the Finals to win. He was inspired then. Now, I have no idea where he’s at. He has a daughter now… we all know how hard that was on him. I don’t know, I’m trying to account for his lack of shot-taking and all around not playing well.

  9. The team follows LBJ and he isn’t playing hard. The team has followed his lead. They the Cavs do not respect players from other teams LBJ guards some non star-player and watches him shoot and then sulks after he makes shot after shot. The Coach does not know how to get his players going. JR should have his number called early and often not just jumpers drives and pin downs the coach is responsible for getting players going through play calling that can’t get themselves going what’s he done. Finally defense play some. Play Frye play the 7 foot C from Boston my goodness if Pop was coaching this team they would be 30 and 8 or 32 and 6 and all of the things mentioned would be covered. I guess I’m mumbling I just love the Cavs and believe they can do a lot better, I remember 2008 I think the Cavs won 66 games with no where the kind of talent that is on the current roster. LH LBJ Snow Z Gooden. Their D rating was third and pace was 25th and their Offensive rating was 4th where is that?

  10. Yes Wolverine, I get all you said there & it seems we see this mostly the same. Time for changes. It just can’t continue. Not that I wasn’t expecting some glitches with IT coming back, but HIS Return had nothing really to do with the destruction at the T-Wolves. In fact, he showed more fight than all the rest of the team combined to the point he was ejected.
    As far as Who to trade for, there’s been a lot of speculation about Cousins, but I don’t think that’s happening & if it did, probably too late & too expensive,,, But the way Love’s shooting ?? Maybe he’ll go too. (Don’t think so though-we’d lose too much there)
    Also thought of the two you mentioned(Chandler & Gasol, especially Gasol is the kind of big needed, but would he actually mesh, as you mentioned ?? As of last game, I would gladly try for Nerlens Noel(maybe for a song), at least he would take a swat at blocking someones shot, even if he missed, they may think twice about going there. Right now on defense, NO ONE EVEN GETS IN THE WAY. They just seem to stand around & look at each other(after) & shrug their shoulders & walk the ball down court again-like it was nothing. THIS IS THE COACHES FAULT!
    Chris & Phillip (above) are right. Pop coaching this team, they would hear about it!!!
    Instead we have “Lue-ser” standing after the game saying “We Lost”, question-Why? “I don’t know” “they scored more points” ah,,,, “I don’t understand the question” DUH !!! Same look every game we lose –“Lue-ser”
    No practices & No Set Plays, “just fly-around schemes”– works some times with player effort, but Check out the Boston Coach, HE DOES HAVE PLAYS ! and PLAY-ERS. And they ARE PLAY-ING those plays, & do the other fast break things that need doing When the opportunity presents itself. it’s a play first mentality. GSW has plays too.
    BUT We see street ball-(fun at times with some great highlights) & ISO when other opportunities doesn’t present itself. We have ideas how things should go but when it doesn’t, it falls apart.
    We just need to re-shuffle this whole thing & a few trades (TT, unfortunately JR, Maybe Shump too)
    KEEP & PLAY CEDI & FRYE Somebody needs to calm Kevin Love into shooting mode again & KEEP HIM THERE.
    We should be much better by mid March ???
    Sorry,,, got off track there & got long winded. I will close for now.

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