The Cleveland Cavaliers have lost four of their last six games, all by double digits, including a 103-74 loss to the Spurs in San Antonio on Monday. Cleveland (47-26) is 7-10 over its last 17 games and trails Boston (48-26) by a half game in the East entering play March 29.
LeBron James, well, he’s not happy.
“He talked about their physicality being a problem after the Denver game where they got waxed, and then this one (against the Spurs), I think they’re pretty much at the point where they’re just like, ‘Look, we’re not going to find answers. We’ve got three weeks left. We’ve got to get some rest. We’ve got to start prioritizing getting ready ad preparing for the playoffs,’” CBSSports.com NBA writer Matt Moore said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “We’ll see. They’ve shown up the last two years and been an entirely different team once the postseason began, and they have good reason to believe that they can find that gear again.”
The Cavs started strong this year, going 13-2 and 40-16. They seemed like a lock to win the East and return to the Finals for the third straight year.
That, however, is in doubt, especially with the Celtics, Wizards (46-28) and Raptors (45-29) all surging.
“I think that there’s real concerns because J.R. Smith hasn’t been the same since he got back from injury,” Moore said. “He’s had a real tough situation with his daughter going on. Kevin Love has not been at all the guy he was before the injury. That’s been huge for them. Love’s never going to be a great defender, but he was pretty solid. He was good overall before he went down, and they’ve just completely lost (their mojo) defensively. They can get it back. Everyone kind of expects them to. You can’t really doubt them because they’re the defending champs and they’ve got LeBron James. But if they struggle out of the gate in a first-round series versus, say, the Heat, there’s going to be a whole lot of people that are going, ‘Okay, maybe what we saw in the regular season was legit and this team really is flawed.’”
The Cavs play the Bulls (35-39) in Chicago on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.