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LeBron James: 'Right Now We Are Not Very Good in Every Aspect of the Game'

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 29, 2014

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The 103-80 loss to the last-place Detroit Pistons on Dec. 28 provided some strong evidence, but LeBron James made sure to remove any doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling.

Chris Fedor @ChrisFedor

#Cavs LeBron James: "Right now we are not very good. In every aspect of the game"

It's hard to argue with LBJ on that point.

Cleveland snoozed through a thorough thrashing at the hands of the hapless Pistons, shooting just 37.8 percent from the field and hitting a paltry five of its 29 three-point attempts. Toss in 17 turnovers and a grand total of eight fast-break points, and it's no wonder James is down on his team's performance.

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 28:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers defends against the Detroit Pistons during the game on December 28, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
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LeBron didn't include himself explicitly, but he can't be happy with the way he performed against Detroit.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

2nd time in LeBron James' career in which he's shot less than 30% from the field (5-19, 26.3%) and committed at least 7 turnovers

It's worth noting that James finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Even on his worst nights, he stuffs the stat sheet.

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Still, a casual viewing of the game showed precious little effort from the Cavaliers' leader. He settled for jumpers against exploitable matchups, spent much of his time on defense standing straight up and, most troubling of all, simply didn't run back to defend on a handful of his own turnovers.

When the Cavaliers look disinterested in the details and unwilling to put forth consistent effort, it's not hard to determine whose example they're following.

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Kevin Love on lopsided home loss to Pistons: "We need to play better in front of our home crowd, home fans and it’s just unacceptable.”

Did I mention the embarrassing loss against the now-7-23 Pistons cameΒ at home?

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

David Blatt says they lost their "energy and competitiveness." He added "that shouldn't happen."

Yikes.

There are a couple of ways to process Cleveland's messy defeat and James' comments. One involves patience, measured expectations and some perspective. As Conrad Kaczmarek notes, it's easy to forget that the most promising plans sometimes take a while to come together:

Conrad Kaczmarek @ConradKaz

Like, say LeBron doesnt go to his 5th straight Finals. Is that okay? Can they have a year to figure things out and build a roster?

Remember, too, that Kyrie Irving wasn't available against Detroit. He sat out his second consecutive game with a left knee contusion. Though he might not have prevented a 23-point defeat, his presence probably would have helped.

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The other approach is conclusory: James has slipped, and the team around him simply isn't cut out to contend. After a loss like this one, we should expect the more sensational explanation to gain traction.

It's not crazy to say James and the Cavs are in serious trouble. They're 18-12 in one of the softest conferences in memory, and LeBron's production is down across the board. Signs of hope, in the short term, are few.

Still, nobody should be judged by their worst day. James and the Cavs may have just had theirs.Β 

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