Cavs lose first game after Blatt firing

Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:17am EST
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(The Sports Xchange) - Within the last 24 hours, Cleveland fired their head coach, management blamed it on the tone of the locker room and regression on the floor, the star player denied culpability in the affair and the new coach said the players are out of shape.

Just imagine how dire the situation would be if the Cavs were not leading the Eastern Conference.

Center Pau Gasol had 23 points and 10 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls beat the Cavaliers 96-83 on Saturday in the debut of new coach Tyronn Lue.

"It was a tough day for our players, coaching staff and our organization," LeBron James said. "And it's a tough game to come in and play. But I think if we play as hard as we did tonight, then we're going to give ourselves a chance to win every night."

General manager David Griffin made the surprising decision to fire David Blatt on Friday despite owning the top record in the East. Griffin did not like the tone of the locker room and did not see improvement despite the team piling up victories.

Lue added to that by acknowledging before Saturday's game he did not believe players were enjoying themselves this season.

Then they shot 37 percent from the field, did not get any scoring from their bench until late in the third quarter and were just nien of 22 from the free-throw line as they were booed off the floor after the loss.

"I've been booed before, along with a lot of these guys," Lue said. "That's not a big deal. It's something I've got to deal with."

James scored 16 points in the fourth quarter and fell one assist shy of his first triple-double this season. He had 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists but were 11 of 27 from the field.   Continued...

Jan 23, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) attempts to shoot the ball between Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol (16) and guard Jimmy Butler (21) during the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. The Bulls won 96-83. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports