Cavs coach Tyronn Lue calls latest loss to Knicks 'unacceptable'

By @saihoops on
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors live stream
May 5, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after being fouled by Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) during the first half of game three of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. USA TODAY Sports / John E. Sokolowski

Tyronn Lue, coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, called out his players on Sunday after the team suffered a shocking 114-95 rout at the hands of the New York Knicks. The Cavs suffered their fourth game in five games and fell to a 3-4 record after making a strong start to the season. 

"Tonight's loss and the last couple are unacceptable, and the only way we're going to be able to get out of it is to put the work in -- as players, as coaches. And we're going to do that... When you lose to teams the way we've been getting beat, it's unacceptable. Until we get our spirits right, it's going to be like this," an agitated Lue told reporters said after the defeat. 

The Cavs got a huge boost from the return of point guard Derrick Rose, who missed the previous four games with an ankle injury. However, Rose's return didn't help Cleveland iron out obvious issues on the defensive end.

Lue's team is still playing without All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, who is nursing a career-threatening hip injury. Although Thomas is expected to rejoin the team in January, analysts and odds makers are giving Cleveland poor odds of potentially defeating Golden State Warriors in a finals rematch next June.

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James not ready to panic

LeBron James, however, believes it’s too early to count out the Cavs this early into the season. With the February trade deadline still looming, Cleveland could potentially upgrade the roster ahead of next year's playoffs. James had a rather off-night Sunday, as he attempted only 15 field goals and finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 4 turnovers. 

"I played better 14 years ago than I did tonight. What is this? October? I'm not about to go crazy over it right now. It's too long of a season, and I've been a part of this too many times, so I'm the wrong guy to ask. I'm too positive right now.  All it takes is a win. That's all it takes. All it takes is a win, and then things will start feeling better, and we'll start feeling better about ourselves. So we just need a win."

Kevin Love, who top-scored for the Cavs with 22 points and 11 rebounds, acknowledged the team's problems on transition defense. According to Love, the team had the requisite tools to script a turnaround,

"We're so much a better team when we're running back down and the other team's struggling -- not the other way around. We need to change that. A lot of that can be fixed with effort. We have the talent here. That's obvious. On paper, we look great, but now we need to go out there and kind of be assertive and have our will take care of that for us, but right now, we got to figure it out," Love said.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will now stay home to host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday before travelling to the Washington Wizards on Friday. John Wall's Wizards are viewed as legitimate threats to the Cavs' Eastern Conference crown.