LeBron James and James Jones called a players-only meeting after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 103–99 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday to chastise their teammates for their inconsistent play, reports ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
The Cavaliers remain in first place in the Eastern Conference with an 11–4 record, but all four of their losses have come against a conference rival. Their loss Wednesday put the Chicago Bulls just one game behind them in the standings.
Despite Cleveland’s first-place status, James has not been pleased with his team’s level of intensity this season. Last week, after a two-game losing streak, James called out the Cavs for failing to use their Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors last year to motivate them to win this year.
“It’s all mindset,” said James, who was openly frustrated after Wednesday’s game, according to ESPN. “It comes from within. I’ve always had it. My upbringing had me like that. It’s either you got it or you don’t.”
Coach David Blatt credited the loss to the team’s playing shorthanded with Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, Timofey Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova out with injuries. James did not agree, saying after the game that fatigue and injuries were “not an excuse” for losing.
The Cavaliers can get back on track against the Charlotte Hornets (9–6) at 7 p.m. ET Friday.
- Erin Flynn