NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Cavaliers lack effort in latest setback — LeBron James can’t get back fast enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers, losers of five straight games after a humiliating loss to the Sacramento Kings Sunday night at Sleep Train Arena. If LeBron’s two-week absence from the lineup has shown us nothing, it’s that these Cavs (even with All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love) are nowhere near the championship outfit they were billed to be over the summer. Yes, it’s just one game and one without the team’s best player in uniform. But as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group points out, the shocking lack of effort in this latest setback is something for Cleveland fans to worry about:
What happened at Sleep Train Arena on Sunday night was disturbing.
The Sacramento Kings were not supposed to manhandle the Cleveland Cavaliers that way, resulting in a 103-84 rout.
Cleveland (19-19) had just come off of a game where they fought tooth and nail with the Golden State Warriors until things unraveled late in the fourth quarter.
They showed life, promise and the willingness to never quit. But on Sunday, it was an inexcusable amount of exertion placed forth and that simply will not do.
“It wasn’t a good performance by us, honestly,” head coach David Blatt said. “You can’t sugarcoat that…That was not the performance we hoped for.”
When the Kings built a significant lead, shoulders started to slump, heads were hung down and tempers flared. Players started to behave out of character. Not pleased with the lack of calls, Kyrie Irving chased down referee Leroy Richardson as both teams were headed to the locker room for halftime.
Teammates intervened before the All-Star could pick up a cheap technical and it would have been his first ever technical, a sign of how irate he was at the time.
“The emotions,” Irving said. “Like I said, I’m usually composed, but my emotions just got the best of me going into halftime.”
DeMarcus Cousins talked trash and he backed it up, bruising the Cavaliers’ frontcourt for 26 points and 13 rebounds. Rudy Gay dissected Cleveland’s defense with an array a midrange jumpers to end with 23 points on an efficient 9-for-14 shooting.
Sacramento, a team that was six games under .500 entering the game, made it look easy and that’s because it was easy.
“We didn’t have the best effort,” Kevin Love admitted. “We missed some good shots but all in all, it wasn’t there for us tonight.” He later said, “In anything that you do, that’s unacceptable. We have to compete and compete every single night.”