Good morning. The Cavaliers need to turn off chill mode.

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Good morning. The Cavaliers suffered a loss that would have fans tearing their hair out if the rest of the basketball world wasn’t busy doing that on their behalf. Cleveland led the Pistons by 15 early, but lost by 23. Detroit hit a lot of shots Detroit doesn’t hit, and you wonder how much was noise and how much was Cleveland’s No. 22-ranked defense shining through.

Kevin Love had 20, and the Cavs were missing Kyrie Irving and, of course, Anderson Varejao. But LeBron James needed 21 shooting possessions to get 17 points, which is very un-LeBron, which is good description of how he’s been off and on this season. As you’ll see in one of the links below, LeBron is still more than capable of exploding. He’s just doing it far less frequently it seems. It’s worrisome. If you’re a fan of the game and you don’t actively root for one of the four teams in the East who gain the most from Cleveland’s mediocrity, you want to see the Cavaliers at or near their peak potential. We were excited for Irving-LeBron-Love for a reason. That hasn’t been unleashed at all.

There’s time, but not that much time. And every demoralizing, confusing loss like this makes me wonder if that wonderful basketball we thought was just around the corner in fact just isn’t possible. This is a “make it work” moment for David Blatt, LeBron and the Cavs. So, make it work.

Let’s basketball.

EAST UPDATE: Still the Raptors, Hawks, Wizards and Bulls at the top, with the Cavs lagging a bit, the Bucks bouncing around .500 and the Heat and Nets leading the rest of the pack for Nos. 7 and 8. The 7-23 Pistons, winners of two straight since waiving Josh Smith, are only 6.5 games out.

WEST UPDATE: The top six have some clearance, but the hobbled Spurs are only one game up on No. 8 Phoenix. The Pelicans are two games behind the Suns, the Thunder are one game further, and the Kings are one game further. I would leave the Kings out of this discussion, but they are finally headed on an East Coast road trip and Boogie Cousins is averaging 29 points per game since overcoming meningitis. They *could* be back to .500 this time next week.

PEAK DION: This Vine says everything about Dion Waiters and is one of my favorite things about 2014 or any year.

AHAHAHA: Tobias Harris talked s–t to LeBron. LeBron deactivated chill mode and destroyed Harris. David Blatt asked if there’s a map to where he can find the chill mode deactivation button.

BAT VS. MAD ANT: Or more accurately, live bat vs. human in a Mad Ant costume. Who ya got?

I CAN COUNT TO 5, TOO: Kobe gets heckled by a Dallas fan, responds by counting off his rings. Kobe is officially a Kobe Twitter Stan. He’s like the new Troll Pope.

DIFFERENTSTROKES: Man sniffs Lavoy Allen on Pacers’ bench, makes funny face for TV camera.

MORE TEMECULA: Seth Rosenthal talked to Snottie Drippen, who inspires such anger in his rhetorical foes. The Rockets dropped a reference to the episode on Twitter. (We made it, ma.) And now there’s a diss track!

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS OF OUR TIME: Why is Nate Robinson touching teammates’ heads?

HUH: The Bucks drafted Jabari Parker over Dante Exum in part because of the recommendation of a facial coding expert. Who reads facial expressions and can tell you about someone’s emotional resiliency and “assured presence.” Huh.

SHABAZZ PALACES: Shabazz Muhammed is actually developing in Minnesota. That’s fantastic.

PEAK SNEAKS: The Sports Fan Journal lists its top seven sneaker releases of 2014.

EXCELLENT: Joe Flynn on the tough guy myth as it pertains to Quincy Acy.

WELL: On Saturday Carmelo Anthony played 45 minutes on a bum knee in an overtime loss. On Sunday he had to leave the game at halftime.

THE SPORTS QUOTES OF 2014: Neat collection of the best sports quotes of 2014 from Bruce Arthur, including this Doc Rivers gem: “I meet with my coaches out on the court and they tell me what they think we should do. I ignore them, go back to the bench and tell the players what I think they should do. They ignore me and go out and do whatever they want to do.”

WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL THESE YEARS? “Why isn’t there a Wirecutter for baby stuff?” THERE IS, called The Nightlight. An appreciative hat tip to Karen K. Ho.

Happy Monday. See you next time.

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December 29, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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