On the heels of their “fiery” team meeting in which a teammate had been accused of faking sick to get out of a blowout loss, LeBron James‘ tailspinning Cleveland Cavaliers had a chance to prove the “intense” locker room confrontation had lit a fire beneath their gold-and-wine behinds.
Instead, by the third quarter of their road game against the San Antonio Spurs, they’d proven the opposite.
Two plays stand out as particularly inexcusable.
Early in the second half, Spurs forward Kyle Anderson, a man with foot speed so glacial it’s the basis for his solid nickname, Slo Mo, grabbed a rebound and casually waltzed the length of the floor unimpeded past five Cavaliers en route to two of the easiest points in his four-year career.
No wonder the Cavs are dead last in the NBA in defensive rating, surrendering 112.2 points per 100 possessions.
Just two minutes of game action later, Kevin Love, whose illness during a historic blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder had been questioned at the aforementioned team meeting, took a shot to the face and hit the deck as LaMarcus Aldridge scored on a putback.
Instead of helping his teammate up, Jae Crowder glanced down at Love, looked back up, and stepped right over him.
Kevin Love gets left on the ground after he gets hit in the face.. no teammates came to help him up pic.twitter.com/dynPe0mKPQ
— FL⚡️SH (@TheNBAFlash) January 24, 2018
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the division in the Cavs’ locker room rests between the incumbent Cavs and the eight players added in the offseason, which would include Crowder.
“Everybody wants accountability, but nobody actually wants to be held accountable,” an anonymous player said. “The crazy thing is that it still all feels correctable.”
Needless to say, the Cavaliers lost, 114-102.