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Tyronn Lue on the Cavs’ performance against the Hawks: “I hate it”

The Cavs’ coach wasn’t happy with how the team played Friday.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a game they probably shouldn’t have on Saturday and Cavs coach Tyronn Lue wasn’t happy about it.

“I didn’t think we respected them tonight,” Lue said. “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. These games like this come back and bite you, especially down the stretch when you’re trying to get some rest. Trying to hold onto that No. 1 seed and getting rest and you come out and have a performance like this, it’s not good.”

What Lue is describing is the the relative lack of energy the Cavs have often played with of late. With the Cavs’ recent four-game winning streak as an exception, Cleveland has had several down performances. And like last night, Cleveland has often the lead, then lost it, then gained it back only to lose it again,.

Lue, is right too that it hurts the Cavs’ chances of resting their stars, particularly if te team is committed to securing the No 1 seed. Lue said before Wednesday game that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving won’t rest until the team does so the No. 1 seed is secured. The Cavs’ magic number to clinch is at two with three games to go. It could drop to one if the Celtics lose to the Hornets on Saturday.

Will the Cavs stop playing this way in the playoffs? Probably, as they’ve had games like this in season’s past. But that doesn’t make the current situation any less frustrating to watch.