NBA rumors surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t revealing a positive story. Questions about team chemistry continue to mount and it’s not surprising with the ups-and-downs the new roster has been having. On Tuesday night (Dec. 30), the team lost again on the road, falling to the Atlanta Hawks 109-101. The Cavs shot just 44 percent from the field while allowing the Hawks to hit on 50.6 percent of their shots. It was a recipe for disaster.
LeBron James took the game off with a sore knee, Shawn Marion was out with a left ankle sprain, and a lot of added pressure was placed on Kyrie Irving. Irving went 13-of-27 from the field and finished with 35 points, but he was also just 3-of-10 from three point range and he committed eight turnovers on the night. Kevin Love was just 1-of-8 from the field, finishing with an anemic seven points.
With the loss, the Cavs fell to 18-13 and remain fifth overall in the Eastern Conference. It was the second straight loss for the team and they are now 3 ½ games behind the Chicago Bulls for first place in the Central Division. If the season had ended last night, they would be on the road against the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. It’s not exactly where fans had been hoping the team would reside after the front office traded for Love and signed James back to the team after his tenure with the Miami Heat.
It’s certainly too early to buy into the NBA rumors about Love being unhappy playing in Cleveland. Sure, he is likely very frustrated, especially with some of the worst numbers of his career. Through 31 games, he is shooting just 42.7 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from three point range. His numbers have dropped to just 16.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, taking him out of the discussion when it comes to the best power forwards in the game.
With 51 games left on the 2014-15 NBA schedule, there is a lot of time still to turn the season around. What the team has to find is some consistency. One night they are beating up on the Toronto Raptors (on the road) and then they are losing to the Pistons by 23 at home (Dec. 28). The team has already been involved in 14 games decided by more than 10 points and has posted a record of 8-6 in those contests. That’s ugly basketball and only acceptable if the team is on the winning end of those blowouts.
Next up is a game at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday (Dec. 31). It’s too early to call this a must-win scenario, but the Cavs have lost two in a row and would benefit them greatly to finish 2014 with a victory. Does this team have the mental toughness to overcome early struggles? Or is the combination of players doomed to give Cleveland an early exit in the 2015 NBA Playoffs?