CLEVELAND -- With Wednesday's 92-90 loss to the San Antonio Spurs dropping the Cleveland Cavaliers' record to 5-5, it shouldn't be too surprising there were two distinctively different takes on where things stand from the voices in the Cavs' locker room.
On one end of the spectrum was Kevin Love. When asked by a reporter if it was "frustrating or just a learning process" because he only got one shot in the fourth quarter en route to 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting, Love said, "I think it's both."
"It's come to a point where I'm just trying to find myself in this offense," Love said after his lowest scoring output this season. "It's almost related to when you come into the league; usually the guys that dominate the ball so much tend to learn a lot quicker than a guy like myself, a big man. So, I'm just trying to find different spots in the offense.
"I'll just say we're 10 games in, we're looking at different stuff. I need to find myself. I think everybody knew coming in that we'd have to sacrifice, but at some point we're going to need some low-post scoring and some outside shooting."
Love was sure to mention his part in allowing Boris Diaw (19 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds) and Tim Duncan (19 points, 10 rebounds) to go off, but his thoughts ultimately settled on his inconsistent role in the offense.
"Both ends of the floor, I think I need to step up, but as far as getting into a rhythm, it's been tough," Love said.
On the other end was LeBron James. After seeing his new team lose to the defending champion Spurs by only a bucket -- the same Spurs team that beat James' Miami Heat 4-1 in the Finals just five months ago by an average of 18 points in those four wins -- James had a sunnier take on the proceedings.
"This is a game that I'm happy about," James said. "I'm never happy about a loss, I hate to lose, but I'm happy about the progress we made tonight. It's totally different than what we did on Monday. We came to play, we competed for 48 minutes and when you give yourself an opportunity to win, that's all you can ask for."
On Monday the Cavs lost 106-97 to a Denver Nuggets team that was just 2-7 coming into the game. While Cleveland made strides on defense -- holding the Spurs to fewer points, fewer transition points, a lower field goal percentage and a lower 3-point percentage than the Nuggets -- there was one major error that echoed from one game to the next. The Cavs had 15 turnovers leading to 26 Nuggets points; they had 18 turnovers Wednesday, leading to 22 points for the Spurs.
James accounted for five of the turnovers, including the final one with 1.9 seconds left when he was dribbling the ball near center court, his team down by two, and lost the handle.
While James credited his younger teammates for how they performed in the Cavs' first "big game" of the season, he was
hard on himself.
"I think they played well," James said. "I was the one that didn't pretty much respond too well with my turnovers. But I'm OK with myself. I can live with myself. I'm my biggest critic."
And just like James wasn't completely satisfied despite his "happy" decree, Love wasn't completely down on how the first 10 games have gone for him.
"Like anything it's going to take time," Love said. "I'm not worried about it. I'm not mad at it, don't feel any sort of grudge or anything like that. I just want to help this team. I think I came here to win and we're going to figure it out. It's still early."
Love's take sounded a lot like that of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who all but guaranteed that the Cavaliers will figure out whatever has caused them to be so up-and-down out of the gate.
"What you see now [from the Cavs] you can multiply by two or three [later in the season]," Popovich said after the game. "They're going to be one hell of a team. But it's a new system, new bodies and it doesn't happen quickly. I'm glad we played them now. They'll be a whole lot tougher later on in the year."