Isaiah Thomas: I'm Not Responsible for Cavaliers' Recent Struggles

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' Isaiah Thomas drives in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Isaiah Thomas has not lived up to expectations since making his season debut for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 2, but he believes their defensive woes extend beyond his presence on the court. 

Per ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Thomas said after the Cavs' practice Saturday that their stats on defense have been bad since the season started:

"We've been a lowest five [rated] defensive team in the NBA the whole time [this season]. So when I come back, it's my fault now. Which, life isn't fair, but that's not fair, bro. At all. I just laugh at those things because I know in this circle and this team, everybody believes in each other and everybody's in here for it to work and for us to be playing in June. That's the ultimate goal."

In nine games with Thomas in the lineup, the Cavaliers have allowed 120.9 points per game and posted a 4-5 record.

Dating back to Christmas Day, the Cavs have lost 10 of their last 14 games and are only 1.5 games ahead of the Miami Heat for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. They have the NBA's second-worst defensive efficiency with 112.0 points per 100 possessions, per

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported a team meeting on Monday turned into an explosive affair with Thomas being one target and Kevin Love being challenged for leaving a 148-124 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder early with an illness. 

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Thomas noted Saturday he only asked Love "why wasn't he at the game during the game supporting his teammates."

On Friday against the Indiana Pacers, Love grabbed a rebound and handed it to Thomas in an exaggerated fashion. McMenamin reported, per a team source, that this was a "clear sign" Love was trying to embarrass Thomas.

The Cavaliers were able to stop their recent slide with a 115-108 win over the Pacers on Friday, but the tension is worrisome. They will look for their first back-to-back wins since Dec. 16-17 when they host the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.