Following Sunday night’s embarrassing home loss to the Detroit Pistons, there may be growing concern about whether Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt can reach his players.
Sources told ESPN.com that there is worry in the Cavaliers’ organization with the level of response the first-year coach is getting on the floor
Blatt acknowledged that the Cavaliers “lost our energy and we lost our competitiveness” in Sunday night’s 103-80 loss to Detroit.
Just 30 games into Blatt’s NBA coaching career, the Cavs know the job is much different after LeBron James decided in July to return to his home-state team in free agency. Blatt was hired away from Israeli power Maccabi Tel-Aviv in June with no NBA experience but with an accomplished career overseas.
Blatt was asked Sunday at his postgame news conference if he is concerned that he might be losing control of the team.
“I’m not concerned about that at all,” he said. “I’m more concerned with how we’re playing.
“You know, we’re going through a few things right now. We’ve lost some pretty important players. … At that point that you have to be more competitive, and more determined, and fight your way through that or else this happens. It’s not an excuse, it’s just an explanation for your question. That’s the reality of it. We didn’t fight enough to battle the difficulties that we’ve had.”
In the last two weeks, Cleveland has suffered home losses of 29 points to Atlanta on Dec. 17 and 23 on Sunday without injured starters Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao.
After an eight-game winning streak pushed the Cavs to a mark of 13-7, they are just 5-5 over the past 10 games. During that span, Cleveland ranks 27th in the league in defensive efficiency, 28th in field-goal percentage defense and 26th in 3-point percentage defense, according to ESPN.
The Cavs are 18-12 and placed fifth in the Eastern Conference heading into Tuesday night’s rematch with the Hawks in Atlanta.
James, who turns 30 on Tuesday, did not hold back after Sunday’s loss.
“We’re not a very good team,” James said. “As far as on the court, we’re still trying to find our way as well. We’ve won some good games, we’ve lost some games. But right now, we’re just not very good in every aspect of the game that we need to be to compete every night.”
The Cavs were booed off the court by their hometown fans during a third-quarter timeout against the Pistons.
James dismissed a question asking whether the loss was a learning experience not only for the Cavs’ players but also for Blatt.
“I’m not answering you, man,” James said. “Don’t try that.”
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