What's Going On?
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers haven't been taking care of the basketball lately, and their coach thinks it's costing them victories.
The Cavaliers will try to avoid losing a third straight for the first time in more than three months on Sunday when they host the Charlotte Bobcats.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Cleveland –7.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 195.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 92% of bets for this game have been placed on Cleveland –7.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Cleveland (37-29) has had 17 turnovers in each of its last two games, and James has been as guilty as anyone for that carelessness. He turned the ball over 13 times combined, and the Cavaliers lost both contests.
"I thought our turnovers in the last few ballgames really hurt us," said coach Mike Brown. "If we continue to turn the ball over as much as we do we will continue to lose, especially if we go through stretches where we are not defending."
Before losing their last two games, the Cavaliers averaged just 11.3 turnovers in their previous six contests, winning five. James totaled 18 turnovers in that span.
He committed six on Wednesday night in New Jersey, and despite scoring 42 points - including 14 in the fourth quarter - Cleveland lost 104-99.
One night later, James shot 1-for-6 in the fourth, part of Cleveland's 5-for-22 final quarter, in losing 101-99 at Washington. James had a chance to win the game at the final buzzer but his 3-point attempt barely drew rim.
"I felt good about the shot," said James, who had 25 points. "I didn't want the game to go into overtime. I missed shots. I'm human. I can miss shots."
The only time the Cavaliers have lost more than two consecutive games all season was a six-game skid from Nov. 28-Dec. 8.
Cleveland averages 14.2 turnovers - fourth-best in the Eastern Conference - but has played its two sloppiest games of the season against the Bobcats (24-41).
The Cavaliers were without an injured James on Dec. 8 in Charlotte and turned it over a season-high 27 times, losing 96-93. James was in the lineup on Jan. 11 and had eight of his team's 23 turnovers, but he had 31 points and 19 rebounds in Cleveland's 113-106 double-overtime win.
The Cavaliers continue to play without the injured Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Daniel Gibson, but they got Sasha Pavlovic back on Wednesday after he had missed 23 games with a sprained left foot. He had a season-high 24 points against the Wizards.
Forward Anderson Varejao - who, as a restricted free agent, signed an offer sheet with Charlotte in December only to have Cleveland match the deal - had 16 points and 18 rebounds against the Bobcats on Jan. 11.
Charlotte had won five straight games for the first time in franchise history to climb back into playoff contention in the East, but has dropped its last two.
The Bobcats lost 118-93 at Dallas on Wednesday, but gave red-hot Houston one of its toughest games during its 21-game winning streak before falling 89-80 on Friday.
"I really liked our fight (against the Rockets)," said coach Sam Vincent. "We did some real good stuff and if we can keep fighting like that, bottle that up and we can win some games."
Jason Richardson had 28 points and eight rebounds in Houston, continuing his fine first season in Charlotte. He's averaging 26.6 points over his last eight games, and he's shooting a career-best 40.8 percent from 3-point range this season.
The Bobcats just got their other most consistent offensive player back in the lineup. Gerald Wallace had missed eight games with a concussion before coming back against the Mavericks, finishing with 16 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes.
He's averaging 20.3 points this season, and is averaging 25.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last three games against Cleveland.
The Cavaliers have never lost in six home games against Charlotte, though three of those meetings were decided in overtime.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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