The Cleveland Cavaliers have been a good, but a weird team this season.
Although they sit top of the Eastern Conference, they have not strolled to the number one seed like they did last season.
The Boston Celtics are only one game behind them with the finish line in sight, and after losing to a much-changed Atlanta Hawks side last night, old frustrations are bubbling.
The Cavs team failed to protect a nine-point lead midway through the third quarter and fell behind by as many as 20 in the fourth to slip to a 114-100 loss.
“Obviously a bad performance,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “Beat Boston and have the game that we had, and to come back and not validate it against a team that didn’t even play their guys.
“I didn’t think we respected them tonight. I thought we thought we’d just mess around with the game until it was time to knuckle down. By that time, they already had confidence. That’s who we’ve been. That’s who we are. I hate it.”
The Hawks, who sit in fifth a place in the east, started with Jose Calderon, Taurean Prince, Kris Humphries, Ersan Ilyasova and Tim Hardaway Jr.
“These games like this come back and bite you, especially down the stretch when you’re trying to get some rest. Trying to hold on to that No. 1 seed and getting rest, and you come out and have a performance like this, it’s not good.”
The Wine and Gold have been prone to these moments this term and will need LeBron James to switch into his famous ‘playoff mode’ if they want to have any chance of repeating last year’s momentous triumph.