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D-Wade on Cavs Struggles: First Unit Has to Start Off Better

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After falling 117-115 on Sunday to an Atlanta Hawks team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers showed signs of becoming a team divided, as several bench players called out the Cavs starters for their shoddy play.

“It’s no secret we’re starting games off awful,” Dwyane Wade said after scoring a season-high 25 points as a reserve. “Terrible. And [Atlanta] got it going early, and the effort or the focus just wasn’t there to start off, and you try to battle back, you waste a lot of energy trying to come back from 16-18 down, and it’s tough nightly to do this. And we all know this. It’s no secret in this locker room, but our first unit, we got to start off better.”

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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Jimmy Butler (Knee) Sits Out T-Wolves Win Over Raptors

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Jimmy Butler sat out Minnesota’s 115-109 victory Saturday night against Toronto with a sore right knee.

Butler is averaging 21.7 points per game for the revamped Timberwolves, who entered with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. Minnesota had lost two straight before hosting the Raptors. Nemanja Bjelica started in Butler’s place.

Source: ESPN

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Celtics’ Kyrie Irving Set to Return From Shoulder Injury

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Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving went through the team’s entire off-day practice Saturday and expects to return to game action Sunday against the Orlando Magic after missing one game due to a sore shoulder.

Irving sat out Thursday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers after undergoing tests on a shoulder that had been bothering him recently. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but Irving will continue getting treatment even as he returns to game action.

Source: Chris Forsberg of ESPN

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LeBron After Loss to OKC: We Can Get Bounced Early in Playoffs

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Following one of the most inept defensive performances in Cavaliers history, LeBron James said his team looked primed for a short postseason appearance, barring any changes.

The Cavs fell 148-124 to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, tying a franchise record for most points allowed in regulation. They are 3-9 since Christmas Day. “Playoffs? We can’t even start thinking about that, not the way we’re playing right now,” James said. “We could easily get bounced early in the playoffs if they started next weekend. Haven’t even began thinking about the postseason.”

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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