On Tuesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers stepped on yet another rake, blowing a 21-point lead before going on to an 18-point loss to one of the three or four worst teams in the NBA. After the game, point guard Isaiah Thomas — presently shooting 36 percent from the field and 23 percent from 3-point land while operating largely as a traffic cone on defense as he struggles to get back to full speed following seven months on the shelf rehabilitating a torn hip labrum — continued to offer his unvarnished takes on the state of his spiraling team:
From ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“Guys start to go one-on-one on offense, and the defense is every man for himself. The first half we played good, everybody was happy. It was energized, helping each other on the defensive end. Sharing the ball. The ball was moving side-to-side on offense. And then we revert back to what makes us lose games.” […]
“We got to do better,” Thomas said. “We got to adjust throughout the game. They made adjustments, and it worked, and we just kept getting hit with the same thing, and we made no adjustments. And that’s been one of our biggest problems all year, is adjusting. Teams are not just going to allow us to continue to score and continue to do things at a high level. They’re going to make adjustments, and we have to do the same thing, too, and we’re not that good at that right now.”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, when I address something, it’s like I’m blaming somebody. So I just try to lead by example and do my job. Which, obviously, I got to play better. But something needs to be addressed. I mean, we continue to play like this, we’re going to continue to lose.”
While Thomas’ comments certainly have merit, given how dilapidated Cleveland has looked of late, you’d imagine they’re not so easy to take — for teammates or fans — coming from a player whose combination of usage rate and effective field goal percentage thus far evoke memories of post-injury Derrick Rose, post-injury Kobe Bryant, post-lockout Shawn Kemp and Wizards-era Michael Jordan. And so, when the Cavs took to social media on Wednesday to wish Thomas a happy 29th birthday, it was easy to see bad things on the horizon.
And they came. Oh, my word, did they come.
Over on Instagram, the replies got so rancid that the Cavs actually had to shut off comments on the post:
The only way the Cavs are going to be able to silence all the roasting coming their way in the real world is by starting to play way, way, way better, and soon. The good news is, they’ll get another chance on Wednesday night. The bad news: they’ll be playing Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves, who beat the hell out of Cleveland last month and will be coming off three days of rest to take on a Cavs team on the second half of a back-to-back. Happy birthday, Isaiah. Hope you like yikes.
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