A Friday home game against the Philadelphia 76ers should offer a temporary reprieve, but one game against a lottery team won't mask the turmoil surrounding the Cavs.
Richaun Holmes and rookie Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 19 apiece for Philadelphia, which only dressed nine players.
The Sixers are real bad, especially right now. On Friday night, when the Philadelphia 76ers face off against him, it will be a lot of Justin Anderson doing his best to contain him.
LeBron James scored 34 points as the National Basketball Association champion Cleveland Cavaliers brought their miserable March to a close with a 122-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. The defending champions know this but they have to address some internal issues if they want to return to the NBA Finals and get another championship ring. But against the lowly Sixers, Cleveland regained some of its swagger before heading into April when the real fun begins.
Said James: "He was protecting me from getting shoved". The security guard at the door to the visitor's locker room said he'd never seen James depart so quickly. Irving was reacting to a previous play where he took exception to Anderson's actions against James in which James hit the ground. "At the end of the day, we have to fix it (on the court)". "If we're consistent and play like we know how to play, we'll take care of business with these last ... games".
The Wizards haven't looked overmatched by many teams since their turnaround in December, but the Utah Jazz were one of them.
In the current division format, James has played 52 regular-season series against the Central and Southeast, respectively. Following Thursday's loss in Chicago, the Cavs held a players-only meeting to clear the air. The Cavaliers seem to have the attitude that, as long as they having Irving and LeBron James and Kevin Love, all they have to do is decide to play to their capabilities and they'll be fine.
But it didn't take Cleveland long to get separation from Philly - opening the second quarter on a 13-3 run and extending their lead to 23 points on J.R. Smith's triple with less than a minute to play before halftime.
Given the state of the Cavs, this one was significant. We can't worry about other teams winning and losing.
Cleveland has lost five of their last seven and even 26 points from LeBron James could not stop the skid. An MRI showed Covington had a "slight" meniscus tear. Tyronn Lue would have you believe that the Cleveland Cavaliers could try an entirely different defensive scheme in the playoffs and not put it on display until then.
NOTEBOOK - Lue said he isn't sure yet if swingman Kyle Korver (foot) or Richard Jefferson (knee) will be available for the Pacers on Sunday. So when they closed the first quarter up just three, 32-39, there was understandably some unease among the Quicken Loans Arena faithful. Chicago's streak goes back to the 2012-2013 season when LeBron's Heat knocked them off.