OPINION: Why Dwyane Wade was right to call out Cleveland Cavaliers for poor play

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dwyane Wade knows what winning basketball looks like, and what he has seen lately is something altogether different.

Following Sunday’s 117-115 loss to the Atlanta Hawks (2-8, 2-5 away from home), Wade sounded off on what needs to be done for the Cavaliers (4-6) to get back to their winning ways.

“It’s no secret in this locker room,” Wade said. “Our first unit, we’ve got to start off better. I want, one time, for our first unit to get on the second unit because we blew a lead. I’m waiting for that day to happen. We’ve definitely got to start off better.”

Here are three reasons why Wade needed to say something following the loss to the woeful Hawks.

FIRST-QUARTER ISSUES

Just 1-8 and 1-5 away from home entering Sunday’s game, the Hawks scored 37 points in the first quarter, and with the Cavaliers playing catch-up for the remainder of the game, Atlanta fought its way to the two-point road win.

In their six losses this season, the Cavaliers have been outscored, 191-110, in the first quarter of play.

The most notable differentials were a minus-18 against the Orlando Magic (36-18), a minus-13 in a loss at New Orleans (35-22) and a ten-point deficit against the New York Knicks (29-19).

LACK OF ENERGY

The Cavaliers are the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions, and despite a multitude of roster changes since the end of the 2016-2017 season, which ended in a five-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, they have high goals again for this year.

Because the Cavaliers are a veteran-laden squad, they should know that getting over mistakes is not as simple as flipping on a light switch when facing off against high-powered opponents.

“I told the guys, every time I’ve come into the game besides one game, it’s been a 10-plus hole that we’re trying to dig out of,” Wade said. “We’re confident in our second unit, but we don’t want all that, not every time.

“It’s still early, and we’re still trying to figure it out, but you still want to find a way to win games like this, no matter if you’re trying to figure it out because you’re talented enough. We’ve just got to have more of a sense of urgency. Our sense of urgency and our energy have to be better.”

NO CARRYOVER FROM WASHINGTON

The loss to the struggling Hawks came just two days after the Cavaliers played well in a 130-122 win at the Washington Wizards, and the inability to carry over the success of past games has both LeBron James and Wade guessing for solutions to the problems.

“I was ready to go, and a lot of the guys were ready to go, but I cannot answer that question,” James said.

Wade added, “We didn’t come in with that same mentality. We came in with the mentality we had before that. We’ve got to be desperate right now. We’re 4-6, and there’s no reason to be. Until we get that, it could be more nights like this.”

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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