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Cavaliers, coach Blatt struggle to find rhythm with Irving, Shumpert back


CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 8: David Blatt celebrates with LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena on November 8, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers 101-97. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** David Blatt; LeBron James

Jason Miller

That the Cavaliers lost on the road to Golden State on Christmas Day shouldn’t be a surprise — the Warriors are the defending NBA champs and 28-1 this season for a reason.

That the Cavaliers got crushed by a Trail Blazers team without Damian Lillard the following night should cause a double take (Kyrie Irving rested for the Cavs because of a back-to-back).

That said, it shouldn’t be a shock the Cavaliers are struggling to find a rhythm after getting their starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert back — inseting them into the lineup was inevitably going to lead to some bumps in the road. For example, it’s fair to wonder how Kevin Love will fare with Irving having the ball in his hands more.

But what frustrates the players — specifically LeBron James — is the unsettled rotations. Players like consistency and with Irving and Shumpert back, Blatt is still tinkering around with the rotations. Mo Williams got just five minutes against Golden State, Anderson Varejao never even saw the court.

LeBron talked about all of that after the loss to the Blazers — and threw the ball in coach David Blatt’s court — as reported by Joe Varden at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Offensively we’re just in a funk right now,” James said. “We just got to find our rhythm....

“For the first eight weeks we had built chemistry, we knew who was playing, we knew who wasn’t playing,” James said. “We had rotations, coach had rotations down, so we got to get back to that. We have no rhythm. Guys are, we have some guys who don’t know if they’re going to play, or if they are going to play, and it’s hurting our rhythm a little bit.”

Again, struggles when inserting two new starters into the rotation are to be expected for a little while. That includes the coaching staff finding rotations that work and they are comfortable with — there is going to be experimentation with the bench lineups.

And uncertainty around the rotations is not why the Cavaliers got crushed by the Blazers. It was a bad game, those happen.

That said, Blatt should settle on something, let this team find it’s “rhythm” again, then tweak those rotations as needed. There isn’t any time pressure — it’s still December people, the regular season has nearly four months left — but LeBron continues to have a sense of urgency this season. He wants to bring a title to “the Land” and Golden State is still Everest in his way, he saw it again firsthand this week. LeBron wants his team to be building good habits right now, not fumbling around trying to tinker with rotations. He’s not wrong about that.