Cavs legs can't carry Lue's vision

Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:45am EST
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(Reuters) - New Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue has a vision of how he wants his team to play, the problem is the Cavaliers do not seem to have the legs for it.

An assistant to David Blatt, who was fired on Friday, Lue signed a multi-year extension to take over as head coach and began his tenure with a 96-83 loss to the Bulls on Saturday.

The Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers (30-12) are heavy favorites to represent the conference again in this year's NBA Finals but there has been growing criticism over their form against the top teams in the West.

Cleveland have lost to both San Antonio and defending champions Golden State this month, with the Warriors handing them a crushing 132-98 defeat.

LeBron James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, is the face of the Cavs franchise and widely viewed as a key factor in any coaching decisions made by the team, but he says he was "just as surprised" as his team mates when Blatt was fired.

Lue is determined to compete with the best in the West and wants James and Kyrie Irving to lead the charge.

First comes fitness, however.

"We’re not in good enough shape to play the style we want to play,” Lue told reporters after Saturday's loss to Chicago.

"We pushed it early. I think we got tired. (Some of our guys) came out early. That puts us in a tough position.   Continued...

Jan 23, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and Chicago Bulls guard Aaron Brooks (0) battle for the ball during the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. The Bulls won 96-83. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports