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Tyronn Lue: Poor Defense, Mindset the Cause of Cavs Recent Skid

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With the Cleveland Cavaliers’ rocky opening to the 2017-18 season looking like growing pains at best and an all-out free fall at worst, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue called his team’s latest loss — a 114-95 rout at the hands of the New York Knicks — “unacceptable.”

“Tonight’s loss and the last couple are unacceptable, and the only way we’re going to be able to get out of it is to put the work in — as players, as coaches,” Lue said. “And we’re going to do that. … When you lose to teams the way we’ve been getting beat, it’s unacceptable.”

Cleveland (3-4) has lost four of its past five games by an average of 16.8 points per defeat. It isn’t just the losses but also the caliber of opponent that is alarming. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time since April of his rookie season that a LeBron James team has lost three straight games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs the previous season.

“Until we get our spirits right, it’s going to be like this,” Lue said.

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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