Nov 4, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews (2) drives past Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters (3) during the first quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
Eastern Conference Champions in the future? Perhaps, but right now, these Cleveland Cavaliers are a work in progress, and that was never more evident during the team’s 101-82 loss to the Trail Blazers Tuesday night.
At the beginning of the second half, the focus was on LIlliard, and they man responsible for guarding him, Kyrie Irving. Lillard opened the third quarter with a easy dunk that caused James to shoot a disgusting look toward Irving, and the Cavs bench.
“There’s a lot of bad habits, a lot of bad habits been built up the past couple years,” James said after the game. “When you play that style of basketball it takes a lot to get it up out of you.”
According to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, James also had Dion Waiters in mind with the statement. Waiters allowed Westey Matthews to score 21 points.
• James seems to purposely not be playing the role of savior, instead trying to teach lessons to his young team, which is indicative of a new leadership style.
"“This is a conscious decision on how he plans to operate in a passive-aggressive mission to yank some teammates toward his way of thinking. Let some of them fail at their way so they will be open to new ideas, is what it looks and sounds like.”"
This game reinforces what James said in his Sports Illustrated essay last summer. He knew this wasn’t going to be easy. He knew he was joining a young team that was clueless about how to win in the NBA.
James is on a mission to lead the Cavs to their first NBA title. If he has to sacrifice individual games to make better players out of young guns Irving and Waiters, so be it.
• Kevin Love, hidden away for far too long in the abyss known as Minnesota, continues to show Cleveland and NBA fans why he’s considered one of the top 10 players in the league.
When most of the Cavs stunk, Love came up with 22 points and 10 boards. He was 5-of-8 from 3-point land.
The Browns, at 5-3, were ranked 19th in ESPN’s latest power rankings. Thoughts?
• Center Nick McDonald‘s struggles were memorable against the Buccaneers, but it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.
The Tribe extended Terry Francona for two more years. Any Tribe fan has to welcome this. The Indians have a winning record under Francona, and his presence means this team is a contender for the postseason, just as it’s been the past two years.
• There are rumors that the Cubs have interest in Nick Swisher. Just don’t expect this Chicago broadcaster to get on board with a trade.
If the Indians can move Swisher, the team will have some real flexibility in free agency. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to eat some of Swisher’s salary over the next two seasons to make a deal happen. Swish is due $15 million in 2015 and 2016. He has a $14 million vesting option for 2017.