The Cavs squared off against the struggling Hawks at home on Sunday, so it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Cleveland would roll to victory by a considerable margin. Atlanta entered the game with an 1-8 record, and the Cavs were listed as 11.5-point favorites in the game.
But Sunday’s Eastern Conference matchup was an example of why they play the games, as the Hawks jumped out to an early lead and later pulled off a 117-115 win. Atlanta, at one point in the fourth quarter, had a 16-point lead, and Cleveland didn’t even remotely resemble the team that won the Eastern Conference last season.
Newcomer Dwyane Wade believes the team can play better, and he made that known after Sunday’s loss in speaking to the media.
“We all know this,” Wade said when asked about the team’s poor play. “There is no secrets in this locker room, but our first unit. We’ve got to start off better. I want one time for the first unit to get on the second unit because we blew a lead. I’m waiting for that day to happen. We’ve definitely got to start off better. I know it’s a long season, and we’ve got time to correct it, but you don’t want to be losing these games.”
Wade made a great point there, as the team’s starting five is too talented to get off to a slow start and put the Cavs in a hole early in games, which is what happened on Sunday.
The Cavs players need to do a better job of executing, but it might be time for head coach Tyronn Lue to start making some lineup changes as well. Starting J.R. Smith over Wade is one idea he could look to explore.
And sure, it’s still early in the season, but no one expected the Cavs to start the season with a 4-6 record, and they’ll need to get things turned around soon.