Very little has gone right for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the last month, and LeBron James fully acknowledged just how tough this season has been after practice on Wednesday.
They have lost nine of their last 12 games and now sit just a half-game up on the Miami Heat for the third playoff spot in the NBA's Eastern Conference.
"It's been very challenging," James was quoted as telling reporters by ESPN.
"Just from the simple fact of how many guys have been in and out. This is a difficult year for our team. Seems like I say that every year, but this one has been even more challenging."
Cleveland knew the season was going to be rough in the beginning as they were not expecting to have guard Isaiah Thomas playing until January. Thomas is back in the line-up but still the team is mired in problems.
The Cavaliers are 2-3 with Thomas on the court and are allowing 123 points per game in those five outings.
Cleveland is 25th in the league in points allowed per game, and are allowing nearly 18 points more per time out with Thomas on the court.
James talked about having a consistent plan on the court earlier this year and how that made the defense better during their 13-game winning streak. The team has not yet had that consistency with Thomas on the court. He has missed two of the last five games and has been on a minutes restriction as well.
It may simply take time for Cleveland to get better with Thomas in the mix once he is fully in shape, but as of now they are struggling, and James acknowledged that the team's inconsistent roster has played into their problems.
"With everybody who has been out and coming back in, and the rotations, and things of that nature, it's been very challenging on our team," he said.
"But we have to figure it out. At the end of the day, we have a game every other day or every two days just like everybody else in the NBA. We have to go out and play."