Preaching patience: LeBron compares Cavs process to ‘building car from scratch’

LeBron James’ return to Cleveland is off to a rocky start, but facing the Utah Jazz might be what the Cavaliers need to begin finding some consistency.

James attempts to bounce back from his worst scoring performance in six years, as the visiting Cavaliers try for a fourth straight win over the Jazz on Wednesday night.

After finishing with 17 points and eight turnovers in the season opener, James appeared to regain his form in Friday’s 114-108 overtime win in Chicago, scoring 36. The superstar forward took another step back in Tuesday’s 101-82 loss at Portland, going 4 of 12 to finish with 11 points – including none after halftime – for his lowest scoring performance since also scoring 11 in a win over Indiana on Dec. 5, 2008.

James, though, isn’t entirely to blame for Cleveland (1-2) getting off to an inconsistent start. Kyrie Irving also struggled Tuesday, finishing with nine points on 3-of-17 shooting, and Cleveland’s bench is averaging 19.0 points – tied for second worst in the league.

James is calling for patience.

“We have to understand what it takes to win. It’s going to be a long process,” James said. “There’s been a lot of losing basketball around here for a few years.

“It’s like building a car from scratch. I’ve done that before. I hated the process, it got on my nerves. I sent it back to get repainted 100 times. But once it was completely finished I was excited about it.”

The Cavaliers may be excited to face the Jazz (1-3) since Utah is allowing an average of 110.3 points on 52.7 percent shooting in its three defeats.

Cleveland has also won three straight matchups, averaging 105.3 points and connecting on 47.9 percent – including 18 for 45 from 3-point range. The Cavaliers shot 54.2 percent while hitting half of their 14 3s in a 113-102 win in their most recent matchup at Salt Lake City on Jan. 10.

James generally thrives against Utah, averaging 29.6 points in 21 career games – his second-highest average against any opponent. However, he had just 13 while missing 5 of 6 from behind the arc in a 94-89 loss at Utah with Miami on Feb. 8.

Irving, who totaled 45 in the first two games, had his only career triple-double in the latest matchup Feb. 28, finishing with 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 99-79 home win.

Kevin Love had a triple-double at Utah six days earlier with Minnesota, collecting 37 points, 12 boards and 10 assists in a 121-104 victory.

The Jazz are trying to bounce back from Monday’s 107-101 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers, surrendering 13 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to Chris Paul.

“It’s hard. I just think you have to play hard, and try to eliminate breakdowns,” coach Quin Snyder said of facing the Clippers and Cavaliers in consecutive games. “For us, we have to see them as opportunities to improve. Every time we come out against one of these team that basically people are picking to be in the NBA Finals, it’s a good chance to measure ourselves in where we are.”

Gordon Hayward has done his part, sinking 19 of 34 field goals to total 51 points with 17 rebounds over the last two games. However, he’s managed 14 total points on 21.1 percent shooting in three career home matchups with Cleveland, missing the one Jan. 10 with a hip flexor.

Source: MSN Sports

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