Cold-shooting J.R. Smith on struggling Cavs: ‘We’ll get better’

J.R. Smith and the Cavaliers have dropped three straight and are struggling at both ends.

It’s no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been struggling since the 2018 portion of the 2017-18 season tipped off.

With Cleveland in the midst of a stretch that’s seen it lose seven of its last 10 games, as well as eight of its last 11, its paved the way for much speculation about what’s gonna wrong.

Coach Tyronn Lue even went as far to say the Cavaliers must set aside their “agendas” after being hammered by the Toronto Raptors, 133-99, on Thursday night at Air Canada Centre.

One of the Cavaliers who has been struggling the most, not just during this recent tough stretch, but all season long, disagreed with Lue’s assessment in regards to players having agendas.

J.R. Smith is averaging a career-low 7.6 points per game, along with 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 29.8 minutes. He’s played 41 of the 42 of Cleveland’s games this season, including 38 starts.

Yet he is shooting only 35.0 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, his lowest percentage as a Cavalier and the lowest mark since shooting 34.7 percent as a member of the New York Knicks in the 2011-12 campaign.

“If the coach sees that, that’s what he sees,” Smith said to reporters in Indiana after the Pacers became the latest conqueror of the Cavaliers, 97-95. “I don’t think that’s the case.

“We’re too talented to play for agendas.”

Perhaps so, but Cleveland, which stands 26-16, does not even come close to resembling the team that put together a 13-game winning streak and piled up 18 wins in a 19-game stretch.

Smith, though, attributed to the current tough stretch to the fluidity of the Cavaliers’ lineup, with so many guys going in and out of the lineup because of injury and/or rest — Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade were both rested by the team at Indiana, for example, on the second night of a back-to-back.

“(It’s) tough to get a groove for one another and it’s going to be like that for quite a little bit,” he said. “We can go on a winning streak, still doesn’t mean we know each other.

“But it’s all right. We’ll get better. That’s what the regular season is for.”

3 Comments on "Cold-shooting J.R. Smith on struggling Cavs: ‘We’ll get better’"

  1. The cavaliers won 18 out of 19 games largely attributed to the well functioning meshing second string lineup of:wade,korver,green,frye,and osman. After lue replaced frye with thompson the team lost the positive chemistry it established in the winning streak. Lue does not understand how to optimize lineups and the importance of an interconnected combination of five with a positive point differential showing how the lineup jells as all five players positively impact the other four. At times lue seems to think an individual matchup supercedes the importance of good lineup chemistry. Benches frye with an illogical though as he can’t defend on switches of pick and rolls in the finals even though he was an integral part of a successful unit in february with the arizona university alumni derrick williams and richard jefferson, and korver before deron williams arrived in march.
    Tyronnlue’s coaching will not allow for positive team chemistry of lineup optimization which maximizes chances of winning games and establishing consistency,continuity,connection,cohesiveness, and confidence.

  2. Don, what I am finding quite interesting is the attitudes and views of the different players and coach, JR Smith and Ty Lue for example are saying things like ” it’s just the regular season, that’s what it’s for ” or ” It’s only January ” etc, LBJ is using statements like ” in a funk right now ” or talking about injuries, yet IT, who has watched the rabble at the start of the season, the great winning streak, now another poor run again and IT’s words are ” it’s simply unacceptable ” and not making excuses. Dwayne Wade has said similar things. Its certainly interesting the different things coming from the mouths of different people. I’m actually starting to think Ty Lue and his ‘agendas statement ‘, might actually be ringing true. This doesn’t seem like a roster that is all pulling in the one direction.

    • Don McCormack Don McCormack | January 14, 2018 at 2:56 am |

      Hey, Steve… As usual, your thoughts are interesting and come from someone who has obviously watched more than his fair share of ball. I am with you on your points here, too. In fact, I mentioned to Sam a couple weeks ago I really believe Wade has become the glue of this team. I shudder to think how LeBron would be reacting during the current freefall if D-Wade was not along for the ride. Consider, the guy is here on the cheap (at least in the world of the NBA), has sacrificed personal gain and statistics… all for the opportunity to put one more day of sunshine up into the sky for what will perhaps be his final days of summer, so to speak, in the league. Mom (RIP) always told me during my playing days (at the high school level, of course.. lol), “there are no I’s in ‘team,’ but there ARE two I’s in ‘idiot.’ Always put your team in front of yourself and you will be part of the solution when times of struggle come about as opposed to being part of the problem and making things even more difficult.’ As you (astutely) mentioned, it’s guys such as D-Wade and IT and the way they not only speak, but carry themselves, who allow me to believe the current struggles are not a culture thing, but simply a case of being the oldest team in the league, the schedule becoming more and more difficult and continuing to attempt to integrate new (IT) and injured (Thompson, with D-Rose and Shumpert returning, down the line) into a rotation. As always, Steve, your views and thoughts are appreciated!

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