Tensions rise between Cavs' bench and starters with D-Wade comments
The 15-year NBA veteran tries to light a fire under the starters after an embarrassing loss...
What's the story?
The Atlanta Hawks have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, but they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday by the score of 117-115 to drop Cleveland's record to 4-6; which ranks them 12th in the conference. After the loss, guard Dwayne Wade would sound off on the starters.
In case you didn't know...
At this point last year through ten games, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a 9-1 record. Their only loss was in the seventh game of the season to the Atlanta Hawks by four. They would finish the season overall with a record of 51-31 and the second seed for the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
The heart of the matter...
Wade scored a season-high 25 points off of the bench on Sunday and would comment on the current state of the team (transcript from ESPN):
"It's no secret we're starting games off awful. Terrible. And [Atlanta] got it going early, and the effort or the focus just wasn't there to start off, and you try to battle back, you waste a lot of energy trying to come back from 16-18 down, and it's tough nightly to do this. And we all know this. It's no secret in this locker room, but our first unit, we got to start off better."
A couple of games into the season Wade asked to be put on the bench in favor of starting JR Smith, but the lineup change hasn't panned out for the Cavaliers. It appears giving the Atlanta Hawks only their second win of the year prompted the 15-year veteran to comment on the starting five.
He even joked that he is waiting for the time the starters can get on the reserves for blowing a lead, but it is a day that Wade is still waiting for to happen. The starters combined for a negative +/- rating against the Hawks, the worst being Derrick Rose (-27) and Jae Crowder (-24).
Wade ended his post-game interview with the following comments:
"This goes back to we can't get behind the eight ball too much," Wade said. "We're getting behind 10-plus, and I told the guys, 'Every time I've came in the game besides one game, it's been a 10-plus hole that we're trying to dig out of.' We're confident in our second unit, but we don't want all that. Not every time."
The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-6) try to right the ship on Tuesday night in a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks (4-5). This game will air live on NBA TV.
Seeing the Cavs only ahead of the Nets, Bulls, and Hawks in the Eastern Conference standings is definitely a surprise. Wade is a very respected member of the league, so hopefully his teammates don't take the comments the wrong way, but instead, use them as motivation to better their record.