The Cleveland Cavaliers welcomed the Golden State Warriors to Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night for an eagerly anticipated regular-season showdown and the visiting squad embarrassed their hosts to the tune of a 132-98 blowout victory.
But LeBron James attempted to downplay any significance to the miserable performance, insisting the ugly performance really isn’t that big of a deal and there’s no reason to panic.
“It’s not miserable. It’s just not the end of the world,” he said, via USA Today. “It’s still a basketball game. I don’t take it that far.”
Monday’s victory means the Warriors swept the season series with their 2015 NBA Finals opponents — Golden State also beat Cleveland 89–83 on Christmas Day — but beyond that, it was a regular-season game after all.
Even so, there is no doubt that the Cavaliers would have preferred to put on a better showing. But what’s done is done and James stresses all the Cavaliers can do at this point is move on from the abysmal loss.
“It’s never as bad and it’s never as good as it may seem when you’re going through it,” he said. “Obviously, you want to play well and especially on a stage like this versus the defending champions. But for me as a leader of this ball club over the last six or seven years, I’ve always been even-keeled about wins and losses, especially at this juncture of the season.”
The buildup to Monday’s game had several compelling built-in story lines outside of the NBA Finals rematch angle, with some Cavaliers players reportedly miffed over some comments Stephen Curry made leading into the game. Kyrie Irving also alluded to how important it was for Cleveland to use the match-up to “make a statement.”
In the end, it was an ugly showing by the Cavaliers, but as James astutely put it, it wasn’t the end of the world.
It is wise to put a loss — even an embarrassing blowout — during the regular season in its proper perspective, especially for teams like the Cavaliers with championship aspirations.
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