INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – Isaiah Thomas played the most defense he’s played since returning to the floor earlier this month on Saturday.
It came as he fielded questions from reporters for the first time in over a week following an extended film session and light workout at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Thomas downplayed Monday’s team meeting that saw players question Kevin Love’s absence from last Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma City and practice the following day.
“I didn’t call him out,” Thomas said. “I asked him why wasn’t he at the game during the game supporting his teammates…I didn’t call him out for anything so those reports, whoever’s saying that, there’s no bad blood between me and Kevin Love.
“We go back to fifth and sixth grade. I asked a question, where he was and it was never clarified. And that’s all it was.”
Thomas’ comments clarifying what happened in that meeting were the latest chapter added to the ongoing saga from the drama kings of the NBA.
This past week alone saw reports of Thomas confronting Love in that meeting, talk of a lack of trust on both ends of the floor between teammates and Tristan Thompson’s comments about not caring if players like each other off the floor so long as they play hard on it.
“I think the overall message on Monday was addressing the situation a lot of people questioned,” Thomas said. “And we’re not talking about Kevin Love’s illness. We just didn’t know where he was. We didn’t know why he wasn’t on the bench supporting his teammates or why he wasn’t in the locker room after the game. And then he missed the next practice, which it still wasn’t addressed, so we wanted to address it when we saw him.
“It was no bigger than that and whoever reported that it was and we was bashing Kevin Love – like, there was nothing to bash him about. We just wanted to know where he was and why he didn’t play.”
Love left the 148-124 loss to the Thunder three minutes into the game last Saturday. After sitting on the bench for a few minutes, Love went to the locker room and did not return.
On Monday Love explained that he had a headache and was dizzy, forcing him from the game and subsequently causing him to miss practice on Sunday.
Apparently no one told the team what was going on causing Love to be ambushed with questions when he returned to practice on Monday.
“That meeting we had was blown out of proportion,” Thomas said. “It really was. Being on this team you see any little thing that happens, it’s a little blown up and it’s a little more than it really is. I mean, that’s just I guess being on a team with LeBron James. That’s what happens.”
Since his return Thomas seems to be at the center of controversy, and Saturday was his opportunity to push back and tell his side of the story.
“We’ve been a lowest five defensive team in the NBA the whole time, so when I come back, it’s my fault now,” Thomas said. “Which, life isn’t fair, but that’s not fair, bro. At all.”
On the floor, Thomas said that trust and communication remain key problems for the Cavs.
“We have eight new players on this team, it’s January and we’ve got a lot of time to figure it out,” Thomas said.
Cleveland is 4-7 with Thomas on the floor as he continues to try and find his rhythm after returning from a hip injury that keep him out for the first 3 months of the season.
Defense, sporadic offense and turnovers continue to be problematic and everyone seems to want to blame Thomas, which he doesn’t appreciate.
“I think at the end of the day, it’s gonna work,” Thomas said. “I’m in a new system, a totally new player that came in in the middle of January. A player that’s supposed to be very impactful on this organization. Like, that’s not going to work overnight. I don’t care who you are. And to the fact that everybody wants it to happen over night and those first two games were like, ‘They’re gonna beat the Warriors,’ and then we go on a three-game losing streak and it’s like, ‘Isaiah needs to get on the bench.’ That’s disrespectful to the work that I put in.”