The Cleveland Cavaliers are 11-4 and atop the Eastern Conference despite a rash of key injuries, but that doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory. After a 103-99 road loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, LeBron James and James Jones led a players-only meeting in which the team’s inconsistent play to start the year was addressed, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
The Cavaliers folded down the stretch in Toronto, which left James upset and questioning the team’s physical and mental toughness:
“It’s all mindset,” James said after the game, still visibly frustrated. “It comes from within. I’ve always had it; my upbringing had me like that. It’s either you got it or you don’t.”
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt said fatigue and short-handedness played a big role in the collapse, but James had none of those excuses. He and Jones stressed accountability and bringing the same sense of urgency to the floor every night.
Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com had some more details on what transpired, reporting that James made it a point to discuss specific defensive lapses with players, including Kevin Love, J.R. Smith and Mo Williams. The talks then became an engaging group discussion in the middle of the locker room.
It may seem a bit weird for a team atop a conference to be having these kinds of “issues,” but LeBron clearly isn’t messing around. He realizes the opportunity this team has and wants to make sure they’re ready to bring it every night now and through the rest of the season and into the playoffs.