PORTLAND, Ore. -- After seeing his team trail by as many as 34 points in a 105-76 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt defended his team while acknowledging a poor performance.
"You know, we're not a bad team all of the sudden. We've done some things so far this year," Blatt said of the Cavs (19-9), who still lead the Eastern Conference after the loss to the Blazers, playing without Damian Lillard, extended Cleveland's losing streak to two games. "This was a bad night, plain and simple.
"What that means is what we're going to do with it the next day and the next day. That's the important thing."
LeBron James, who had his night cut short after 27 minutes, as the Cavs conceded the loss while down by 33 with 4 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter, dismissed the result.
"Throw it in the trash," James said. "Throw it in the trash."
Saturday matched Cleveland's 29-point home loss to Atlanta last season as the worst regular-season loss of James' career since the Miami Heat were beaten by 30 by the San Antonio Spurs on March 4, 2011.
"I don't think you should overreact to it," James continued. "In my career, I've never tried to look too far into losses like this. I'm actually a lot more angry after losing a tough one like [Friday's], than I am this one."
The Cavs dropped their Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day 89-83.
"When you play bad from the start to the end, you're like, 'OK,'" James said. "You know what happened. A game like [Friday's], there were opportunities for us, so that made me even more madder. But a game like this you just throw it away, man. You can't let this one linger, you don't let it get on your mind too much and let it sit. We're going to Phoenix, another team that's desperate, and we know they're going to be excited to see us."
Cleveland finishes out its four-game road trip with another back-to-back Monday against the Suns followed by Tuesday against the Denver Nuggets. The Cavs are 4-6 in their first five back-to-back sets so far this season.
"I'm sure that the travel and the back-to-back and the hangover from [Friday's] game had something to do with that," Blatt said. "But, you know, you're asking me a legitimate question and I'm trying to give you a legitimate answer, but that sounds like an excuse. There's no excuse that I can give you that is reasonable. We got kicked in the keister. That's it."
The timing of Cleveland's skid is curious, considering it welcomed Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert and Mo Williams back into the lineup less than a week ago to become fully healthy for the first time all season. However, James argued that introducing players back into the fold brings challenges with it, especially with those players still rounding back into form. As part of his process for gradually returning from his injury, Irving sat out against Portland.
"Just because guys are coming back doesn't mean everything is going to be right," James said. "You know, it's going to take time, because you know for the first eight weeks [of the season] we had built chemistry, we knew who was playing, we knew who wasn't playing. We had rotations, Coach [Blatt] had rotations down, so we got to get back to that."
The lack of continuity was apparent the past two games. The Cavs shot 30-for-95 (31.6 percent) against Golden State and 28-for-77 (36.4 percent) against the 12-20 Trail Blazers, who are in 12th place in the Western Conference.
"We have no rhythm," James said. "We have some guys who don't know if they're going to play, or if they are going to play and it's hurting our rhythm a little bit. And the only thing that is going to help it is practice and games. This is, what, Game 3 since everyone has been back? It's not looked very well so far."