Lue: 'No doubt' Cavs make playoffs despite struggles

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Feb 06 2018 11:14 AM | Updated as of Aug 25 2018 01:16 AM

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and head coach Tyronn Lue talk during a time out in the second half against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Trevor Ruszkowski, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says "there's no doubt" his slumping team will make the playoffs despite 12 losses in the last 18 games, including another blowout loss on Saturday.

Following the 120-88 embarrassment against the Houston Rockets -- it was the Cavs' eighth consecutive loss on national television and fourth by 24 or more points since Jan. 1 -- a frustrated LeBron James said the team should be taken off "every nationally televised game for the rest of the season."

Cleveland (30-21) trailed the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference by 7 1/2 heading into Monday night's games, while only leading the No. 9-seeded Detroit Pistons by five games.

Lue was asked by reporters after practice Monday whether the Cavs' string of three consecutive NBA Finals could be broken by missing the postseason completely.

"I mean we're still going to make the playoffs," Lue said, via ESPN. "There's no doubt about that. We're still confident in that for sure.

"It's too early for that, but, I don't think we'll be knocked out of (making) the playoffs."

The Cavs went through midseason slumps in each of the past three years but rallied to reach the finals each time.

"We prepare, we'll be professional and we go out and play," James told reporters Monday. "At the end of the day as bad as it's looked of late, we're still in a good position where we can play some good basketball going into the (All-Star) break and we want to try to control that."

Lue said he does not plan drastic lineup changes for Tuesday night's road game against the Orlando Magic and Wednesday's home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"See what we have and see what happens, so, right now just got to stay with where we're at right now and just play better," Lue said.

Despite the team's struggles, Lue's job appears safe, according to an ESPN report over the weekend.

"That's not my focus," Lue said Monday. "My focus is to try to get the guys to win and playing better. That's my focus and after that, whatever happens, happens."

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