While� LeBron James attained a rare scoring milestone for the Cleveland Cavaliers, his team reached a new low. Last year�s Eastern Conference champions lost to the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night, for their sixth defeat in seven games.
James notched his 30,000th point, joining only seven players who have reached that plateau. He is the youngest to score that much in a career, joining an exclusive club led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has the most points in NBA history with 38,387. The other 30,000-pointers are Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Dirk Nowitzki.
“It’s something I never set out to do,� he said after the game. �I’m not even a score-first guy when it comes to playing basketball. I love getting my teammates involved and seeing my teammates be excited about scoring and me getting assists.�
Worst Team Against the Spread
In the Cavaliers’ last 15 games they have won only four times, and the struggles have sparked rumors about everything from players being traded to Coach Tyronn Lue getting fired.
More important to bettors, it was the squad�s ninth consecutive loss against the spread. The team has definitely been rewarding gamblers who have placed money against them. If someone had bet $100 on the Cavs opponent nine games ago, then continued to press their winnings throughout the streak, that bettor would have more than $50,000 now with which to decide when enough is enough.
Cleveland has the worst record in the NBA against the spread, with a 12-34-1 mark. The Milwaukee Bucks are next at 18-23-5. The Cavaliers are dreadful at home ATS, covering just three of the last 12 in their own building.
The team has also dropped with sports books on its odds to win the NBA Championship. The Warriors are a strong favorite at 1-2 but the Cavaliers began the season at 3-1, the closest challenger to the defending champions.
That has changed recently with Cleveland slipping to 6-1. The Houston Rockets are next at 8-1 with the Boston Celtics at 10-1. The Cavaliers are still the pick to win the Eastern Conference at 10-11.
Late Season Rebound Possible?
Many are writing off the current slump to midseason doldrums and believe Cleveland will regain its form as the playoffs get closer. The team went through a similar stretch last year and reached the NBA Finals before losing to Golden State.
Some are not so sure. They point to the departure of All-Star guard Kyrie Irving as a big hole Cleveland has yet been able to fill. His replacement Isaiah Thomas was out for all of 2017 while rehabbing from a hip injury and finally played this month. He has struggled in his return and rumors of taking him out of the starting lineup are getting louder.
Ironically it was Thomas who allegedly lit into forward Kevin Love in a players-only meeting they held on Monday. He criticized Love�s decision to leave early in the team�s loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday.
Love told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he is not the only one under a microscope.
�Did I feel like a target?� he said. �I think everybody, most people, were a target. We�re trying to figure this thing out. People hold themselves to a very high standard on this team and we�re a team that can compete at the highest level. So, for us, it�s not about me.�