Max Strus calls out entire Cavs team after ugly loss to Hornets

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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Max Strus definitely did not mince words after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ discouraging loss to the Charlotte Hornets, calling out his team for its lack of effort on defense.

“Sucks we lost,” Strus said. “We just didn’t play hard. A really bad loss for us. Nobody wanted to play defense tonight. That was our problem. Can’t lose to teams like this at this point in the season. Is what it is. Gotta take it on the chin and hopefully get back at it on Friday.”

After defeating the Hornets by 23 points at home on Monday, the Cavs went out and lost 118-111 on the road on Wednesday. Charlotte had lost five games in a row and the victory was just its third in its past 15 games and 18th of the entire 2023-24 NBA season.

The Cavs allowed the Hornets to score 69 points in the first half and shoot 57.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from 3-point range in the game overall. Cleveland’s offense also shared in the blame as the Cavs did not score in the final 3:28 of the contest and posted just 41 points in the second half.

Prior to the disappointing result, Cavs guard Darius Garland praised Hornets rookie Brandon Miller on social media and called him the Rookie of the Year. Miller scored 31 points with a career-high seven 3-pointers on Wednesday.

Strus for his part did everything he could in his first game since March 3. He scored 19 points with five 3-pointers made.

The Cavs have now lost four of their past five games at a very unfortunate point of the season. They have dropped into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings and are just 1.5 games ahead of fifth place with nine games remaining.

Cleveland certainly could use Donovan Mitchell back as soon as possible. The All-Star, who has dealt with a nasal fracture and knee injury, sat out his sixth straight game and could return as early as Friday.

It is a disheartening set of circumstances as the regular season is moving toward its conclusion. The Cavs wound up as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference last season and then were knocked out of the 2023 NBA Playoffs in just five games, losing their first-round series to the New York Knicks.

The Cavaliers will have to right the ship quickly as they try to avoid a similar outcome this time around.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.