Kyrie Irving takes accountability for Cavs' recent downward spiral

The quickest way to sum up how much the Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled in the month of March is this: they have a worse record in the past 29 days other than the Brooklyn Nets

At 6-9, the Cavs have spiraled out of the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, falling half a game behind the Celtics after their loss Monday night in San Antonio. They can’t rebound (47.2 rebound percentage in March, third-worst in the league), they can’t play defense (114.5 defensive rating in March, worst in the league), and thus, they’re struggling to win games. 

Following Monday’s defeat, a 29-point drubbing at the hands of the Spurs, Kyrie Irving was looking inwards as he attempts to come to terms with the struggles the Cavs are facing. In a lengthy interview with ESPN, Irving took accountability for the Cavs’ poor play, and said he needs to do a better job integrating J.R. Smith and Kevin Love back into the lineup. Via ESPN:

“I had to face it, had to face the music,” Irving said Wednesday after the Cavaliers practiced in Chicago ahead of a game against the Bulls on Thursday. “I think we all had to do it. But me more importantly, I had to look in the mirror and just wasn’t doing enough. I need to demand more out of myself and do it at a high level.”

“I have to do my best as a point guard to integrate J.R. and K-Love and get our starting five back to having the continuity. It hasn’t been perfect, to say the least,” Irving said. “There’s definitely been some ups and downs and disagreements. But as adults and professionals we just have to figure it out. I think it just starts with our practice habits and what we demand out of each other. Just holding each other accountable.”

It’s not often that we see players be so critical of themselves like this in the media. With Irving now 25 years old, and nearing the end of his sixth season, this maturity to look inwards and publicly admit he needs to be better is a great sign for the Cavs that Irving is growing as a leader, both on and off the court. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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