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As Golden State heads to town, are the Cavaliers ready?

INDEPENDENCE, OHIO– The Cavaliers’ current rough patch has been well-chronicled.

The Wine and Gold have won just three out of their last 11 games, and currently are ranked 29th in the NBA in overall defense. On Monday, they lost by 28 to the Timberwolves, and on Thursday by 34 to the Raptors. On Friday, they blew a 22-point first half lead to lose by two to the Pacers.

This latest skid, reminiscent of the one the Cavs had at the beginning of the season, is arguably coming at the worst time as the Golden State Warriors come to town on Monday evening.

“We’ve gotta get up,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “If not, it will be embarrassing, so the guys are ready to play, and we know we’re playing the defending champs. They’re a tough team, they’re a good team, and we’re ready to play and we’ll be up to the challenge.”

The Cavs already lost to the Warriors once this season on Christmas Day, 99-92. Neither Isaiah Thomas nor Steph Curry played due to injuries.

“It’s exciting,” Thomas said, when asked about playing in his first game in the rivalry. “High, intense game, guys really care about that game and really want to win those games. I’m excited about the opportunity to get back to playing again after getting a few days off and also trying to figure out how to get a win. We’re in that mode right now where we just need a win to get that confidence back and get our mojo back a little bit. It’s a great opportunity to go against a really good team and we’ll be ready.”

Thomas also said he is ready to go up against “one of the top guards in the world,” Curry.

“Always being able to compete, even it goes back when I used to play for the (Sacramento) Kings, we always used to battle,” Thomas said. “It’s fun playing against really good competition, he’s a hell of a player. It’s tough to play against him, but at the same time, he has to guard up too. So we’re gonna battle, and we’re going to do whatever we can to get our team a win tomorrow night.”

But the Cavaliers current rough stretch is coinciding with Thomas’ own personal one. The point guard has played in just four games so far this season. In the first two, he averaged 18 points and hit 52 percent of his shots from the field. In the most recent two, Thomas shot a combined 5-for-26.

Even when Thomas played well in those first two games, both he and Lue acknowledged that there were likely going to be ups and downs as Thomas became reintegrated to high-level NBA basketball after not playing for seven months.

“I knew it was going to be like this,” Thomas said. “I have no legs, so it’s going to take some time for me to get it back. Even when I played well those first two games I told coach Lue it didn’t feel right. It was kind of fool’s gold, like the shots were just going in but none of my movements, none of my things I normally do felt normal. And it’s going to be like that for awhile. I just gotta be patient.

“I’m my biggest critic. I’m not a patient person so it’s killing me—I’m used to stepping on the court and being special, and now I gotta work my way back, and get my legs back, and get my legs back to playing at a high level. I just know it’s going to take time and I gotta be patient with myself and not too hard on myself. But I’m going to keep working and that’s the only thing I can do.”

But as Thomas works to get that rhythm back, Lue and the team are confident that he will add something the Cavs need desperately against Golden State: another offensive facilitator. It will be especially important as the Cavs’ overall offensive numbers have suffered and the team has at times settled into isolation basketball.

“Just being able to attack, scoring the basketball,” Lue said of what Thomas adds to the matchup against Golden State. “We know that they switch a lot of things so someone who can get into the paint and create something for himself or someone else. We’re going to need that.”

It’s no secret that the Cavs have needed as much help as they can get on both ends of the floor during the last three weeks, but for most observers, perhaps the biggest thing the Cavs need going forward is a consistent effort.

“At the end of the day we gotta play harder,” Thomas said. “If we play harder, we got the talent enough to stay in games, there’s no way we should be getting blown out by 30 points by anybody in this league. Half the battle is playing hard and giving it all you got, the other half is figuring things out on the fly. I think if we do that tomorrow night we put ourselves in a good position to win.”

Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation's Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42



  1. jesse sanchez

    January 15, 2018 at 3:52 am

    Hope and pray, Cavs will win against gsw… cavs players are all talented and shooters, but weak in offense and defence.. lack of motivation to win, resulting 3 straigth losses.. felt sad.. Go Cavs!!!.. never give up..God bless Cavs…

  2. jesse sanchez

    January 15, 2018 at 4:02 am

    GOD bless: LBJames… DWade… KLove… KKorver… DRose… IThomas…JRSmith… JGreen…. pls!!!!.. play it harder, offensively and defendsively… you’re have enough talent, skill to do and win it till NBA finals to win a title… NBA CHAMPIONSHIP 2018…GOD BLESS CAVS…

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