James, Cavaliers look to rebound vs. visiting Kings (Jan 25, 2017)
LeBron James has put the entire Cleveland Cavaliers' organization on notice.
The Cavaliers might lead the Eastern Conference and remain heavy favorites to return to the NBA Finals, but James isn't satisfied.
"We're not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint ... we're a top-heavy team," James told reporters following Monday's loss at the New Orleans Pelicans. "I just hope that we're not satisfied as an organization. How hard it was to do that (expletive). I just hope we're not satisfied."
The Cavaliers have lost five of their last seven games with James in the lineup, something that hasn't happened to him since his last year in Miami. One of their only two wins during that stretch was a victory at Sacramento. Now the Kings visit Cleveland on Wednesday.
James has been campaigning for weeks that the Cavaliers need more playmakers. They only have two guys who can dribble, pass and shoot -- James and Kyrie Irving. As a result, they have become too reliant on their two stars.
Both James and Irving have played more than 40 minutes in each of the last two games -- both losses.
Cleveland lost in overtime at home to the San Antonio Spurs, who were without two starters. Then the Cavaliers fell behind to the Pelicans on the road without Anthony Davis. Cleveland trailed by 22 before Irving shot the team back in the game in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers still lost.
James played 44 of 48 minutes against the Pelicans and leads the league in minutes played at more than 37 per game. It's the most minutes he has played since returning to Cleveland.
Coach Tyronn Lue acknowledged he played James and Irving too many minutes against the Pelicans, and as a result had to cancel practice Tuesday and Wednesday's morning shootaround.
James insisted he wasn't upset with General Manager David Griffin and reiterated that point on his Twitter account Tuesday, but he believes the Cavaliers are still a couple of moves away from being able to defend their championship.
"I don't got no time to waste," James said. "I'll be 33 in the winter and I ain't got time to waste."
The Kings ended a five-game losing skid with a win at Detroit on Monday. They have dropped eight of 10 as they continue on this eight-game road trip. Yet they're still lingering on the cusp of playoff contention in the West.
Second-year center Willie Cauley-Stein scored a season-high 12 points in the win against the Pistons and is starting to show improved ball-handling and scoring abilities.
Cauley-Stein has received consistent minutes the last three games and the results are evident. Kings coach Dave Joerger and his staff have worked on Cauley-Stein's offensive game since Joerger took over.
"I feel like my mental focus the last four games has been really on," Cauley-Stein told the Sacramento Bee. "I've been really in the zone. Now I can figure out how to play with this group of guys and the way our coaches want us to play. I've figured it out. I'm really confident in what I'm doing."