INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – LeBron James says the sky isn’t falling.

But he knows the Cleveland Cavaliers need to play better.

On Thursday, the Cavs will get a chance to snap their recent two-game slide, as Cleveland welcomes the Milwaukee Bucks to Quicken Loans Arena. And James says his squad will have to pick up the urgency if they hope to correct part of what ails them of late.

“I think you should always have a sense of urgency,” James said following shootaround on Thursday morning. “A sense of urgency comes with playing a little bit angrier, understanding the moment, understanding the process. I know it’s a long season. I’m not sitting up here saying it’s Armageddon or anything like that. But we need to play better ball. Until we own that, we won’t get better.”

James hasn’t been above calling out his teammates recently, and Thursday’s words appear to be an attempt to motivate his team even more. He knows internal criticism can be harsh, but he also believes it can be a necessary evil.

“The best thing about our team in Miami was that we could say whatever you wanted to say when you wanted to say it, right then and there,” he said. “No one took it personal. You may be mad at that guy for a few days or whatever the case may be, but it never affected what we did out on the floor. We only had one common goal – and that was to win. That’s all that mattered. We realized stuff like that, you realize that it’s not about you. It’s never about you. It’s about the big picture.”

James shouldn’t be above reproach either.

While the star forward has put up a combined 67 points over the past two games, struggles at the charity stripe have made life difficult at times for Cleveland. Thus far, James is shooting just 61.6 percent from the free-throw line.

So, how do James and the Cavs go about fixing some of their recent issues?

“I think it’s trying to play as consistent a 48 minutes as possible, play our game,” he said. “That’s defending at a high level and that’s not turning the ball over. When we don’t turn the ball over, we share the ball offensively, we got the ball popping and we defend at a high level, we’re a pretty good team. When we’re not, we’re not good at all.”

Thursday night’s contest between Cleveland and Milwaukee tips off at 8:00 p.m.



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