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LeBron James on Cavs Struggles: ‘We’re fine. It’s a long season’

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The Cleveland Cavaliers were beaten 123-101 by the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night, marking their third loss in four games, but the early skid is not too concerning for LeBron James.

“I’m fine,” James said after finishing with 18 points, eight assists and five rebounds while filling in at point guard again as Derrick Rose continues to be sidelined with a sprained left ankle. “I’m fine, and we’re fine. It’s a long season. It’s way too [early to judge].”

It’s the early portion of games that have been the most problematic. The Cavs have been outscored by 44 points combined in the first quarter of their past four games, allowing their opponents to score an average of 33.8 points in the period.

James believes the trickle-down effect of Rose’s injury has thrown Cleveland’s lineups off-kilter, hurting the Cavs both defensively and offensively.

“We’re out two starting point guards,” James said of Rose and Isaiah Thomas. “So I’m not overlooking what’s going on. I wasn’t overlooking if we had success. I’m not going to overlook if we had a couple games off. I’m not getting too high and getting too low. I’m an even-keel guy. I understand this is a long process. We played some different [lineups]. Like I told you guys, we played some crazy lineups that we haven’t even played in practice. So we’ll continue to get better. There’s going to be some games where we don’t look as good unfortunately, but that’s all part of the process, and we just have to be patient with it until we can become full-strength.”

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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Report: Jimmy Butler to Undergo MRI on Right Knee

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Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler left Friday night’s 120-102 lossto the Houston Rockets with a right knee injury.

Butler drove into the paint with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter, missed a short jumper, but then clawed the rebound. He dished to a teammate, then crumpled to the floor in pain, holding his knee.

Teammates, coaches and athletic trainers tended to Butler, who had to be helped off the court. He was unable to put any weight on the leg as he was helped to the locker room, where he was evaluated.

Butler was seen hopping on one foot in the Toyota Center hallway as he headed to get an X-ray. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday when the team gets back to Minnesota.

Source: ESPN

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Sources: Multiple Teams Interested in Joakim Noah if Bought Out

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According to league sources, several playoff-bound teams are closely monitoring [Joakim] Noah’s situation in New York and would push to sign him if Noah becomes a free agent.

The Warriors, Timberwolves and Thunder are three such teams that believe Noah, who turns 33 on Sunday, could bolster their respective rosters for the postseason.

Minnesota is an obvious one since it would reunite Noah with his former coach with the Chicago Bulls, Tom Thibodeau. Golden State and Oklahoma City also feel that Noah’s experience and defensive prowess would solidify their respective benches.

Noah remains in limbo following an altercation with Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek last month in Denver.

Source: Frank Isola of the New York Daily News

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Sources: Hawks, Ersan Ilyasova Nearing Buyout, Multiple Teams Interested

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Atlanta Hawks nearing a buyout with Ersan Ilyasova, I’m told.

Milwaukee and Toronto among possibilities for an Ersan Ilyasova landing spot once Hawks buyout is complete, but sense is it could open to other teams too.

Source: Sam Amick on Twitter

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