LeBron James sets 10-year low, Cavs struggle in 'ugly' loss


Over the course of the 82-game grind that constitutes the NBA regular season, every team has one of those nights where nothing seems to go right.

Monday was just such a night for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who suffered their worst loss of the season at Minnesota.

It didn’t take long for this one to get out of hand. The Timberwolves never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 20-4 lead, built a lead as large as 41 and cruised to an easy 127-99 win over the Cavaliers.

The numbers were ugly for everyone on Cleveland, but they were especially unappealing for LeBron James. In fact, in a career as long and distinguished as James as had, you have to look awfully hard to find numbers this bad from The King.

James had just 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting, the fewest points he’s scored in a game since 2007. He also posted a minus-39 rating, the worse of his career.

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LeBron was asked about that stat after the game.

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“I’ve won a game and had a bad plus-minus before, so what does that matter?” he said. ”I don’t give a damn about no damn plus/minus.”

James didn’t get much help from the other Cleveland starters. Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith combined to shoot 0-for-18 in the first half.

Any team can have an off night when it comes to shooting, but perhaps the larger concern from this game was Cleveland’s defense.

The Cavs allowed a season-high 69 points in the first half, and gave up 127 points for the second straight game.

“We haven’t been able to stop [teams] as of late,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “One-on-one off the dribble, pick-and-roll has been our Achilles’ heel. And transition. They got all three tonight.”

Ironically, one of James’ few highlights of the night was a defensive play in which he chased down Tyus Jones and blocked an attempted layup.

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After winning 17 of 18 games, the Cavs have now lost six of their last nine. They’ve allowed an average of 110 points in those six losses.

Cleveland now has seven double-digit losses on the season. By contrast, they have just seven double-digit wins.

“It happens,” Lue said of the blowout. “It happens three or four times a year to a lot of teams. We’re not normally a team that gets beat like that.”

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Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
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