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David Blatt: ‘No excuses’ for Cavaliers’ Game 1 loss to Bulls

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The Cleveland Cavaliers stumbled out of the gate in its Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Chicago Bulls, losing at home by a score of 99-92 in Game 1. Despite the adversity the Cavaliers faced heading into the series (the loss of Kevin Love to injury, the absence of J.R. Smith due to suspension and a lengthy eight-day layoff between games), the first thing head coach David Blatt said afterward was that the team would not rely on any built-in alibis to explain the night’s disappointing outcome.

“No excuses,” Blatt insisted, via USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt.

The Cavaliers staged a respectable comeback after getting down by 16 in the second quarter, tying the game at 55 apiece in the third. But it fell behind again by 15, which forced them to expend too much energy to simply get back in the game. They managed to get back to being only down by two in the fourth quarter, but playing uphill the entire game made it difficult to get over the hump.

Blatt insisted it’s more about execution than anything, saying the team can overcome the challenges it faces by making adjustments and being creative, although conceding that the “margin for error is going to be smaller.”

“We’ve got to do a little better,” he said.

LeBron James, echoed his head coach’s sentiments, saying the team has to watch video, fix the mistakes, get ready for Game 2 on Thursday and avoid looking too far ahead.

James had a decent stat line on the surface with 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, but he also committed six turnovers and struggled from the field, going 9-for-22 on the night. He admitted after the game it wasn’t his best night.

“I wasn’t that good tonight,” James said. “I have to be much better.”

That may be true, but the panic button certainly doesn’t need to be pushed just yet. It was reasonable to expect the Cavaliers to struggle a little bit as the team adjusted to playing without Love and Smith. But Smith will return after Game 2 and the Cavaliers are simply too good of a team to allow one loss to derail its championship aspirations.

(image credit: Bleacher Report)