Updated 01:14 AM EST, Wed, Jan 27, 2021

LeBron James and the Cavs: It's Too Early to Hit the Panic Button On What Has So Far Been Season 2014-2015

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Preaching patience was so easy in August. It was the theme LeBron James reiterated in training camp and throughout Cleveland's opening-month struggles, assuring all that losing went along with the growing pains.

In an ideal world, Cleveland steamrolls through the Eastern Conference as many predicted. Looking back on James' mannerisms last summer- the monotone way he professed turning the Cavaliers into a contender would be a challenge- only James appeared to believe what he was saying; that Cleveland hasn't won anything yet. That there isn't a guaranteed they will win, despite fielding an All-Star back court. That patience is the key.

A 6-7 record doesn't spell doom for the Cavs. Neither does last Saturday's 110-93 loss at Toronto in which they blew an 18-point first-half lead before falling into a 19-point hole. James, for his part, committed a team-high five turnovers. His 3.8 turnovers per games are fourth-most among qualifying players, trailing only Houston's James Harden and a couple of 76ers. Kevin Love was held to seven rebounds and one assist for the fifth time this season; a remnant of the 12.5 RPG and 4.4 APG posted last year.

With James and Kyrie Irving vying for scoring opportunities, Love's become an afterthought. He's a lone wolf when he should be the team's most effective shooter.  A .404 shooting percent is the perennial All-Star's lowest since missing a majority of the 2012-13 season with a knee injury and Love's six double-doubles are the equivalent of what he had through Nov. 8 of last year.

One Love's few bright spots are that he's not turning the ball over very much, but that could be attributed to his diminished ball-handling role. For the Cavs to succeed, Love has to take a commanding role. He's passing up wide open shots nearly 50 percent more often that he did with Minnesota last season, according to Basketball Reference, and the Cavs are using him about 21 percent of the time Love is on the floor.

In going with James' mantra, Cleveland's offense needs to exhibit patience in letting Love find his groove. Irving can put up 20-plus points a game, but it doubtfully gets Love the reps he needs.

The Cavs' 110-93 rout of Orlando Monday night hinted at a strategic change. While first-year head coach David Blatt continued to toy with the rotation, James notched season-highs in points (29) and assists (11). Love contributed 12-5-8. It was the high-energy effort they could have used in Toronto. The attacked the basket relentlessly and never let up.

For the first time this season, Cleveland played with purpose. Maybe it was James' calling the Cavs "very fragile," or the incessant criticism placed on Blatt reaching a boiling point. Either way, there is a sense of urgency in Cleveland.

James isn't wrong to preach patience. Patience worked for his 2010-11 Miami Heat following a 9-8 start and they arguably didn't field as dangerous of a roster. It can work again. It will work again, and it will work this season. The question then becomes whether the Cavs figure it out before it's too late.

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