So, just how bad are the Cavaliers?

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The 8-37 Cavaliers have lost 18 straight games and 28 of their last 29 on their way to claiming the worst record in the league. That’s the bad news. The worse news is that the Cavaliers are considerably worse than their record indicates.

As bad as the Cavs’ record indicates, the team’s win margin is far uglier: The team is a respectable 2-3 in games decided by three points or less (meaning that a full 25% of the team’s wins have come by three points or less), and the Cavs are an abysmal 0-24 in games decided by 10 points or more. To provide some perspective on that last statistic, the 10-34 Timberwolves are 6-15 in games decided by 10 points or more. The Vegas spread for Tuesday’s Cavaliers-Celtics game was 17 points, and that ended up being a push.

If it wasn’t for the team’s 7-8 start (which was the product of a miracle win against the Celtics and weak scheduling), the Cavaliers would almost certainly be in the hunt for the worst record ever. As it is now, the Cavaliers are chasing the dubious “honor” of being one of the only teams to finish the season with the lowest offensive and defensive efficiency in the league. I’ll let Zach Lowe of The Point Forward explain:

As the Celtics approached 70 points during the first half last night, I found myself wondering if Cleveland might wind up dead last in both offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) and defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions).

The Cavs have been last in offensive efficiency for a while now — a remarkable thing, considering how bad Milwaukee’s offense has been — and Tuesday’s night’s effort in Boston dropped Cleveland to into a tie with Toronto for the next-to-last spot in the defensive efficiency rankings. Only the Suns stand in between the Cavs and a unique level of infamy.

That naturally prompted a question that both Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference and I tackled this morning: Has any team finished last in both categories?

Turns out, two have pulled the trick in the three-point era (starting in the 1979-80 season):

• The 1986-87 Los Angeles Clippers (12-70, Player Efficiency Rating Leader — Michael Cage, 17.1): 101.2 points scored/100 possessions vs. 112.3 points allowed/100 possessions. Net difference: -11.1.

The 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks (11-71, PER later–Derek Harper, 15.9): 99.5 points scored/100 possessions vs. 114.7 points allowed/100 possessions. Net difference: -15.2.

Currently, the Cavaliers are losing games by an average of 12.1 points per game, which would be the fourth-worst mark since the 1979-80 season if the season ended today. And that point margin will likely be worse by the end of the season.

In short, the Cavaliers have not won in over a month, they are losing by historically wide margins, they were the worst team in basketball when healthy and have suffered a slew of injuries, and they will need to beat either the Nuggets, Heat, or Magic to prevent going winless in January. Times are bleak in Cleveland, and there won’t be many happy times for Cavalier fans before the 2011 draft — which the Cavaliers are assured a high pick in, at least.

Kobe Bryant nominated for Oscar

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Does Kobe Bryant need another trophy? He might get one – at the Oscars.

Bryant, the retired Los Angeles Lakers star, was nominated in the animated short category for “Dear Basketball,” based on a poem he wrote in 2015 announcing his impending retirement from basketball. He was nominated along with veteran Disney animator Glen Keane.

Bryant’s poem begins: “Dear Basketball, from the moment I started rolling my dad’s tube socks, and shooting imaginary game-winning shots in the Great Western Forum, I knew one thing was real: I fell in love with you.”

It reflects on how time is running out. “I can’t love you obsessively for much longer,” it says. “This season is all I have left to give. My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

It ends by counting down the final five seconds on a game clock:

Bryant, 39, a five-time NBA champion, played 20 seasons with the Lakers before retiring last year.

Report: Cavaliers, Kings still talking George Hill for Shumpert, Frye trade

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to make moves at the deadline — they have surveyed the landscape and realize they may need help just to get out of the East this season, forget about the Warriors (or even Rockets).

It’s been reported before that Sacramento guard George Hill is of interest to Cleveland. The Cavs could use guard help — they have Isaiah Thomas at the point, and a combination of Dwyane Wade (really a three), Iman Shumpert (injured) and the starter J.R. Smith at the two. Hill is a defensive upgrade, can play some backup point guard, and generally give them solid minutes when healthy.

Which is why the sides are still talking, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Channing Frye and Shumpert straight up for Hill works as a legal trade. It also works for the Cavaliers, as Frye and Shumpert are not part of the rotation. But adding another older player (31) who has an injury history (he hasn’t played even 50 games the past two seasons) to this roster comes with a lot of risks. Is it really worth that for Cleveland? This is not a deal that changes things much, it’s just a better fit for the Cavs.

It’s less of a good deal for the Kings, who want a deal that is about how it helps them two or three years from now as they rebuild. The only advantage Shumpert and Frye give the Kings is their contracts are shorter — Frye is a free agent next summer, Shumpert has a player option at $11 million for next season, while Hill has two more years after this one on his contract. However, neither player would be part of the Kings’ long-term plans, so the Kings likely want a pick or something else in this deal to make it work for them.

The Cavaliers are going to do something at the deadline. What remains to be seen. While there may be trades that help them get out of the East, there isn’t anyone available who solves their Warriors problems, and if they can’t get that it’s hard to imagine them throwing in the Brooklyn pick in a trade (their biggest chip). The moves will be smaller, not grand ones.

John Wall calls J.J. Barea ‘little midget’, Barea says Wizards teammates dislike Wall

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J.J. Barea got hit with a technical foul for jawing with John Wall during the Mavericks’ win over the Wizards yesterday.

The trash talk only intensified after the game.

Wall, via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:

“It was cool. It was funny. It was just a little midget trying to get mad. So, I paid him no mind.”

Barea, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

“Now I have somebody in the NBA that I don’t like,” Barea said. “That’s my first. I don’t like him at all now. But I don’t think his teammates like him, either. So it’s nothing new for him.”

Barea is short, listed at 6-foot.

Do Wall’s teammates dislike him? A lot of that perception stems from his relationship with Bradley Beal, and it seems their biggest troubles are behind them. But the chemistry in Washington isn’t quite right. The latest evidence:

The Wizards got outscored by a whopping 20 points while diminutive J.J. Barea was on the court last night.

And that’s how you burn the burners.

LeBron James congratulates himself, ‘Young King,’ on reaching 30,000 points later tonight

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The Cavaliers have lost nine of 12. Prominent Cleveland players are raising concerns about the roster. Rumors are swirling about coach Tyronn Lue getting fired. The locker room is in disarray. Some Cavs are even pointing the finger at LeBron James himself.

And this is what LeBron posts to Instagram hours before tonight’s Cavaliers-Spurs game:

Wanna be one of the first to Congratulate you on this accomplishment/achievement tonight that you’ll reach! Only a handful has reach/seen it too and while I know it’s never been a goal of yours from the beginning try(please try) to take a moment for yourself on how you’ve done it! The House you’re about to be apart of has only 6 seats in it(as of now) but 1 more will be added and you should be very proud and honored to be invited inside. There’s so many people to thank who has help this even become possible(so thank them all) and when u finally get your moment(alone) to yourself smile, look up to the higher skies and say THANK YOU! So with that said, Congrats again Young King 🤴🏾! 1 Love! #striveforgreatness🚀 #thekidfromakron👑

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron is just seven points from 30,000. The only players to score so much in their careers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Dirk Nowitzki.

It’ll be a nice milestone for LeBron, but he darn well better score those seven points tonight. Not getting there tonight would be the simplest way to make this even more insufferable.