CLEVELAND -- The new-look Cleveland Cavaliers didn't get off to the start they were hoping for, falling to the New York Knicks 95-90 on Thursday thanks in large part to LeBron James shooting just 5-for-15 with eight turnovers.
James called some of his miscues "careless," shouldering his responsibility for the loss, but there were others in the Cavs' locker room who spoke up about their part in the defeat.
Kyrie Irving led Cleveland in both points (22) and assists (seven), but pointed to his four turnovers as proof that he needs to work with coach David Blatt in executing the plays that are being called.
"For us, it's just a better communication between me and Coach Blatt," Irving said. "That's basically what it boils down to. I'm his point guard out there, and some things that I see, you know, he has plays in his mind and I have plays in my mind as well.
"We're just going to continue to grow. It's a process. Within practice, we kind of switch on and off [calling the plays], but for us it's about what's going on out there on the court and what he sees and what I see, and hopefully we can get on the same page pretty soon."
The Cavs' offense, which had been humming during their 5-2 preseason, got off track in the second and third quarters as Cleveland was outscored 49-39 by New York and shot just 12-for-33 (36.4 percent) from the field.
"We got static, without question," Blatt said. "We're good when we move the ball. We're really good when we move the ball. And when we play without motion and without ball energy, I like to call it, then that's what it looks like. That is exactly what happened."
Blatt did not call out Irving by name, but the fourth-year guard dissected his own play.
"It starts with me and my patience in the half court and the full court," Irving said. "There were some plays that we were running, just what I see out there and exploiting mismatches and trying to do the best I can on making this team go."
Another area in which the Cavs struggled mightily was bench production, as the Knicks' reserves outscored Cleveland's substitutes 41-12. Blatt said the disparity was his fault, as he played Shawn Marion only 10 minutes and Mike Miller three minutes.
"It wasn't by design; it was flow of the game," Blatt said. "That's on me. Those guys need to play more."
Marion was diplomatic about it but said it was "by far" the least amount of playing time he had received in a game when he was healthy in his 16-year career.
"It's the first time of my career, but it's OK, it happens," Marion said. "We're all here to sacrifice something but I'm here to help as much as I can and do what I can, and if there's opportunities there, there's opportunities there. Tonight it just didn't come to me, and I got to understand that."
For a team with such high expectations for itself and from the outside, any loss will be picked apart and scrutinized. Even though the Cavs tried to point out what went wrong, they did their best to not point the proverbial finger.
"It's one game," Dion Waiters said. "We know people are going to make it seem like it's the end of the world. We got 81 more games, man."