The Cavaliers seem distracted by the trade deadline as they rack up embarrassing losses, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The latest came last night as the Warriors broke a 10-game road losing streak with a 19-point blowout in Cleveland.
“Every loss is hitting me really hard and hitting us … I know it’s hitting me hard, I can’t answer for other people,” coach John Beilein said. “It’s just trying to find solutions and trying to find a better way to get our guys to play harder and smarter, which will lead to wins. But there’s some things that just happen because we’re young and some things happen because of persistence in our effort and some things happen because we’re just missing some pieces in the roster here and there.”
The team may have a different attitude and a different look once the deadline passes Thursday afternoon. Tristan Thompson, Brandon Knight, John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova are all veterans on expiring contracts who may be sent elsewhere. Kevin Love, the team’s highest-paid player, has displayed frustration throughout the season and is also a candidate to be moved.
One question Beilein couldn’t answer last night is whether he still has the support of the players as the Cavaliers have fallen to the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 13-37.
“I think that our guys have to measure themselves,” he said. “Are they bought in to playing winning basketball? I don’t think it has anything to do with a particular coach or coaches, whatever, they’ve just got to go and play hard.”
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton was “shocked” to be passed over for the Rising Stars Challenge, Fedor adds in a separate story. “I knew I deserved to be there,” said Sexton, who also wasn’t invited to the game last year. “I knew the hard work every day, coming here and playing the game. I knew I deserved to be out there, but I took the good with it. Hey, just continue to build. Can’t be too mad because it is what it is.”
- The Pistons are benefiting from an under-the-radar trade last February that brought in Svi Mykhailiuk from the Lakers in exchange for Reggie Bullock, notes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. “He’s on track to be one of our core pieces as far as his shooting ability, his ability to make plays off the dribble,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s right with Luke (Kennard) as far as being able to put the ball on the floor, run pick and rolls. And the kid’s a sponge – you can get on him, you can coach him, you can teach him.”
- Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo were thrilled to be in the starting lineup together on Friday, relays Eric Woodyard of ESPN. It marked the first start of Thanasis’ NBA career, and Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer made the decision because it was Greek Night in Milwaukee.