Saturday’s nationally televised matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets ended with the Cavs on the receiving end of a 32-point beating, and the Cavs' centerpiece LeBron James offered some candid commentary about his team.
“I’m just at a loss for words actually,” James told reporters during a postgame press availability session captured by ESPN. You can see James’ comments in the video above. “We’re 0-8 on national television. They should take us off every nationally televised game for the rest of the season. We haven’t played good ball, and we get our butts kicked in every game we play on national television.”
According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the Cavs have dropped the last eight nationally televised games they’ve played in since Christmas while being blown out by at least 24 points at four times since January 1. ESPN Stats & Info adds that the Cavs lost those eight nationally televised games by an average of 18 points.
As with most Cavs losses—nationally televised or not—most of the troubles can be blamed on poor defense. Aside from giving up 120 points Saturday, advanced statistics from NBA.com have the Cavaliers ranked 28th out of 30 teams with a defensive rating of 109.4.
Game highlights, or in this case lowlights, consistently feature James, Isaiah Thomas, and other defenders surrendering wide-open perimeter shots, layups, and dunks.
I would love to credit the Rockets for this play, but look how pathetic that Cavs defense is. Is Isaiah Thomas even trying? pic.twitter.com/WQ8H2E5JA7— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) February 4, 2018
Sick highlights! Chris Paul toying with the Cavs "defense" and putting up 22 PTS (6-9 3PT), 11 ASTS, 8 REBS & NO turnovers in 27 MINS during the Rockets 120-88 victory. pic.twitter.com/yLw6anDsZV— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 4, 2018
“We’re not together on both ends,” Thomas told ESPN reporters. “There’s a lot of one-on-one on the offense end, maybe because we don’t trust each other. And then on the defensive end, it’s the same thing.”
Things may not get much better. The Cavaliers’ next game is against the Orlando Magic, who beat the Cavs 114-93 back in October. That game is followed by yet another nationally televised games against the Minnesota Timberwolves.