The Cleveland Cavaliers reconvened following the NBA All-Star break for what felt like a second training camp, as they work to integrate four new players, and LeBron James says the team has “got a long way to go.”
James wants the team to “build championship habits,” but concedes that they don’t have a whole lot of time to do so with 26 games left in the regular season.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) February 22, 2018
Head coach Tyronn Lue, meanwhile, continues to preach patience with the new-look Cavs.
“Just like how I suspected, they forgot the plays,” Lue said with a laugh following Wednesday’s practice. “So, we grabbed them early, tried it, and then we’re going to grab them again after the shooting and just continue to keep going through the plays and a couple defensive coverages. But overall, the energy of the practice is great.”
The new additions have given the three-time Eastern Conference champs a needed lift. Prior to the break, the chest-bumping, smiling and celebrating all returned. It seemed as if weeks after losing — or perhaps abandoning — their identity, the Cavs found it again by playing more free, with a joy that had been missing.
“It’s the same. We want to build championship habits every day,” James said. “We want to be very good defensively. We want to share the ball and move the ball offensively where everybody feels like they’re in a good rhythm. That’s been it and we want to try to execute that. Obviously, we wasn’t able to do that for a majority of the season, but that’s what we want to do for the rest of the season.”
But the second-half push begins Thursday against the fourth-seeded Washington Wizards, a tough stretch that will see the Cavs play 17 games in 32 days.
“We got a long way to go,” James said. “Four new guys that’s in a top-eight, top-nine rotation. Me, as the leader of the team, I welcome it even with the … we don’t have that much time. It’s almost March, so we don’t have that much time and we’re looking forward to the journey.”