Everyone in Cleveland knows giving up 148 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder isn’t good enough to get a win, but Isaiah Thomas believes he knows exactly what’s wrong with the Cavs and how to fix it.
Thomas didn’t blame coaching or a lack of talent for a 148-124 blowout loss at home to the Thunder on Saturday. In fact, he called out his teammates and their effort on defense, saying the team doesn’t “trust each other” and it’s keeping them from finding success on the defensive end.
Thomas was asked about what’s different between the defensive efforts he’s been a part of in Boston and in Cleveland, and he flat-out said that the Celtics were just better defensively. In the process, he gave quite an indictment of the current iteration of the Cavaliers and their defense.
“In Boston we were just a better defensive team. We played a lot harder. We have the guys to do that on this team. We just gotta do it, we gotta really lock in on that end, really trust each other on that end. I think that’s the biggest thing on defense, trusting the next guy that’s got your back.”
The trust, Thomas said, is indispensable on defense.
“I think on that end, right now, we don’t trust each other,” Thomas said. “And that has to change.”
Thomas said there wasn’t a single possession where he felt the Cavs were in the right page defensively, positing that Cleveland needs to go back to the drawing board and “take pride” in what they do on that end of the floor. It was a harsh criticism of his new team, but it was absolutely honest and fairly accurate. But he was somewhat optimistic about how things can change for the better.
“It can only go up from here,” Thomas noted in postgame.
And he’s right. It can get better for the Cavs. It’s just a question of whether it actually will improve or not.