Latest posts by Don McCormack (see all)
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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.”