INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – Despite losing 9 of their last 12, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue has no doubts they are still contenders for the NBA title this year despite rumblings from within his own locker room that some players may not believe it.
“I don’t know which guys, but I believe,” Lue said Wednesday.
With reports from “sources” on the Cavs roster expressing confidentially to a few reporters that they have doubts the Cavs are fixable following Monday night’s loss to Golden State, Lue didn’t sound worried following practice.
“We’re going to be fine,” Lue said. “I seen where people [wrote] sources say, I looked down at the roster and I ain’t seen no guy named source. We gotta talk to [general manager] Kobe [Altman] about getting another position. or something so I don’t know.
“We’re going to be fine. The guys are putting in the work. The last couple of games have been pretty positive even though we lost so things are going to be fine.”
Cleveland has lost 4 in a row and they will host the Orlando Magic Thursday night.
While Lue might be encouraged about what he’s seen from his team the last few games, including the 118-108 loss against the Warriors Monday night, James didn’t share the same opinion.
“When you win championships losing a game is not encouraging, at all,” James said. “I like the way we played in the first half. I liked the way be competed but you get encouraged when you come out here and work and ain’t nobody watching. I am more encouraged on what we did today than I am a game that we lost.”
Missing Identity – At 26-17, the Cavs have yet to develop an identity this season. Part of that has to do with the new faces combined with injuries and rotation of players in and out of the lineups.
“Our identity is to win a championship,” James said.
James explained why he doesn’t think the season has been like a roller coaster – start 6-6 then win 18 of 19 and now drop 9 of 12.
“Just for the simple fact the number of guys that have been in and out it’s been a difficult year for our team,” James said. “It seems like I say that every year but this one has been even more challenging. With everybody that’s been out and coming back in ad the rotations and things of that nature has been very challenging, so we have to figure it out.
“We have a game every other day or every other 2 days just like everybody else in the NBA so we have t go out and play.”
Rose Return – Guard Derrick Rose hopes to finally make his return and play Thursday night against Orlando.
“I feel good, I haven’t had any setbacks,” Rose said.
Rose, who contemplated retirement after suffering an ankle injury before returning to the team, has only played in 6 games this season but has scored in double figures in each of them.
He had hoped to be back during the Cavs recent 5-game road trip but said Wednesday the training staff held him back as a precaution.
Rose admitted watching the Cavs struggle hasn’t been easy.
“It’s hard but at the same time it’s the same team — You’re going to have ups and downs in a season. It’s all about how you handle your losses and how you communicate after them. Usually teams tend to try to handle everything by themselves or players try to handle everything individually on the floor but we need each other. We know that we got to help everybody out and just make the game easy for everyone while we’re out there.”