Chillin’: LeBron, Cavs trying to thaw from mid-season freeze

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraq FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers players, from left, LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love, JR Smith and Jae Crowder take a break during a review in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis. James and the Cavaliers are going through their annual January freeze. It’s taking them longer to thaw this year, raising questions about whether they’re still the best team in the Eastern Conference or good enough to make their fourth straight NBA Finals. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — With sweat streaking down his face and into his bushy beard, LeBron James was not in a playful mood following practice.The cold stare. The pursed lips. The focus.ADVERTISEMENT This is no time for frivolity.With Cleveland in the midst of its annual January deep freeze, a troubling stretch where losing multiplies quickly into rumors, drama and even more distractions for the NBA’s most scrutinized superstar and his teammates, the Cavaliers are being questioned again.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAnd for good reason.While they played well for more than three quarters in a loss — their ninth in 12 games — on Monday night to the defending champion Golden State Warriors, James found little to be encouraged about. Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed The three-time champion conceded that this season has been difficult.“It’s been very challenging just from the simple fact of how many guys have been in and out,” he said. “This is a difficult year for our team. Seems like I say that every year, but this one has been even more challenging. It’s been very challenging on our team. 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.”These are fascinating and frustrating days for the Cavaliers, who opened the season 5-7, ripped off 18 wins in 19 games and have gone just 3-9 since Dec. 19, losing twice in that span to the Warriors, their rivals in each of the past three Finals.Following Monday’s fourth straight loss, James said he was pleased with the team’s effort.However, the same night, some unnamed Cleveland players told several media outlets privately that there was growing concern that the Cavs’ problems might not be fixable.Coach Tyronn Lue was aware of the reports, and joked that the comments didn’t come from any players he knows.“I’ve seen where people said sources say and I look down the roster and I don’t see no guy named sources,” Lue said. “We’re going to be fine. The guys are putting in the work. The last couple of games have been very positive even though we lost, so things are going to be fine.”Things are looking better.Thomas showed flashes of his All-Star form against the Warriors, playing his most minutes (32) since his return, and his role will expand. Derrick Rose could be back as early as Thursday against Orlando after being sidelined since Nov. 7 with a severe ankle injury. And the Cavaliers are in a stretch of playing seven of nine games at home.The record should improve. Will the roster? LATEST STORIES Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMCcenter_img 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “You don’t win championships … losing a game is not encouraging at all,” he said. “I liked the way we played in the first half. I liked the way we competed. But you get encouraged when you come out here and work when there ain’t nobody watching. I’m more encouraged on what we did today than I am in the game the other day.”The Cavs remain a work in progress, an incomplete picture.Maybe even a damaged one.Their aging roster, defensive deficiencies, injuries, Isaiah Thomas’ slow-and-still-uncertain comeback from a hip injury and an inability to beat the league’s elite teams have conjoined to raise doubts about whether the Cavs are still the best team in the Eastern Conference or one good enough to reach their fourth straight NBA Finals.James, who is having another MVP-caliber season, didn’t offer any excuses for the team’s recent struggles, a stretch he called a “rough patch.”ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ With the Feb. 8 trading deadline approaching, the Cavs might be able to land a top-tier player to help James if owner Dan Gilbert is willing to part with the first-round pick the team acquired from Boston in the summer trade involving Kyrie Irving. Of course, with James potentially becoming a free agent after this season, there’s major risk involved.The Cavaliers must weigh whether it’s better to make a major move now and take another championship run this season or hang onto the pick to build for the future in case James leaves.Whatever happens, Lue is confident his team will thrive.“I believe,” he said.James doesn’t seem as certain.As the speculation builds about his future, he gave an interesting response when asked if the current team has enough to win a second NBA championship.“That’s our goal and that’s what we got to work towards,” James said. “That’s what we’re here for.” Anthony, Adams lead Thunder past Lakers Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View commentslast_img read more

Lopez, Lakers top Thunder

first_img2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez, top left, shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder appeared to be on their way to their lofty preseason expectations during an eight-game win streak.Then they hit another rough patch.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Horford hits buzzer beater to lift Celtics over Blazers ”We are at a little rough patch right now,” Anthony said. ”We will be fine. It’s not something to start overacting about and start pointing fingers and trying to figure out exactly what is going on. We know what’s going on. We are the only ones who are going to be able to fix it.”UP NEXTLakers: Host Phoenix on Tuesday.Thunder: Play at Golden State on Tuesday. Of particular concern, the Lakers made 13 3-pointers.”That’s where Andre Roberson is great, maybe the best I’ve ever seen, of being able to close down on top of shooters and get them to bounce it and then also guard it,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. ”But we’ve got to be able to do a better job.”Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for the Lakers, who have won six of eight.The Lakers had lost 11 straight in Oklahoma City.”I was most proud of the way that we engaged ourselves in the fight this time,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. ”Again, we went off to a good start where we were competing back and forth and this time, we sustained it for much longer.”ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Oklahoma City dropped its fourth straight game Sunday when Brook Lopez scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 19, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-104 victory.Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said the team won’t panic.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout”Me personally, I love adversity,” he said. ”It gives you an opportunity to bring your teammates together and bring everybody together. Looking forward to positive things. Throughout this season there is going to be a lot of ups and downs, but we never flinch. That’s one thing about this organization and about our team – we never flinch. We are always going to stay together.”Westbrook scored 36 points and Paul George had 26, but Oklahoma City struggled on defense again. The Thunder have dropped four of five since losing defensive stopper Andre Roberson to a season-ending left patellar tendon injury.center_img Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers PLAY LIST 01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers00:50Trending Articles00:55Next challenge for OKC is ‘getting on same page,’ says Adams01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City The Lakers carried an 82-79 lead into the fourth quarter. Westbrook checked back in with the Lakers leading 87-84 and just over eight minutes remaining. The Lakers went up 98-90 on a fast-break layup by Josh Hart.Ingram made a layup for the Lakers and George fouled him. George argued the call and was issued a technical foul with 3:32 left. Ingram and Clarkson each made a free throw to give Los Angeles a 10-point lead.A 3-pointer by George trimmed the Lakers’ lead to 107-104 with 24.7 seconds to play. Randle was fouled with 17.9 seconds left, and he made the first of two free throws. Westbrook missed a long 3-pointer, and the Lakers pulled down the rebound to escape.”Don’t give into the fact this is a long road trip and we are playing against a really good team,” Walton said. ”Enjoy it. Enjoy the challenge. Our guys did a really good job of sticking together and really fighting that one out.”TIP-INSLakers: G Lonzo Ball missed his 10th straight game with a sore left knee. … Walton was called for a technical foul late in the first quarter. … Lopez made 4 of 9 3-pointers. … Hart had 14 points and 11 rebounds. … F Kyle Kuzma, the team’s leading scorer, finished with two points in 16 minutes.Thunder: F Carmelo Anthony had six rebounds in the first quarter. He finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. … Anthony and C Steven Adams were called for technicals in the third quarter. … Made just 7 of 25 3-pointers.STAT LINESOklahoma City outrebounded the Lakers 28-13 in the second half and still couldn’t make up ground. That’s because the Thunder allowed the Lakers to shoot 55 percent in the second half, including 50 percent from 3-point range.QUOTABLE Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC AFP official booed out of forum LATEST STORIES View commentslast_img read more