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LeBron on Cavs' struggles: 'We can't sustain effort for 48 minutes'

Chris Graythen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

LeBron James came into Wednesday's game filled with optimism, but he left it feeling exasperated by his team's continued inability to put forth a consistent effort.

"We can't sustain effort for 48 minutes," James told reporters after the Cavaliers dropped their fourth straight game, and third in a row by at least 17 points, against the Indiana Pacers.

Getting stops was once again the Cavs' biggest struggle, as they surrendered at least 112 points for the sixth straight game (with their lone win in that stretch coming against the Chicago Bulls) and dropped to 29th in the NBA in defensive rating.

"I don't know," James said, when asked how the Cavs can remedy their issues. "Get in better shape, be more mindful of what's going on. There's a lot of things you can do."

With Kyrie Irving gone, Isaiah Thomas on the shelf, J.R. Smith mired in a miserable shooting slump, and new additions like Dwyane Wade and Jae Crowder still trying to find their way, James is off to his worst eight-game start since his rookie season 13 years ago. And with Tristan Thompson suffering a calf strain Wednesday, the Cavs may be about to get stretched even thinner.

"We have an opportunity to be very good, but then you see some of the lulls that we have, it's just very difficult on our team right now," James said. "We're trying to figure it out on the fly and unfortunately we don't have time to practice a lot and do those things. And now Tristan went down again, we don't know how long he's going to be out, so our team is kind of depleted as well."

Wednesday's loss didn't fall on James, who put up 33 points (on 14-of-22 shooting), six rebounds, 11 assists, two steals, and a block. But he also committed eight of the Cavs' 16 turnovers, which contributed to the Pacers' relentless transition game.

"Some of my turnovers are trying to make the right play and it just not working out," he said. "Obviously eight for myself, that's way too many. I take that for sure. I have the ball in my hands a lot so I have to be very careful with my decision-making, so I take full responsibility for all our turnovers tonight, because it starts with me."

After the loss, the Cavs find themselves staring up at 11 teams in the Eastern Conference standings, and carrying the league's sixth-worst point differential. In an early season full of pleasant surprises, Cleveland has perhaps been the biggest disappointment.

"A lot of teams are playing well right now, we're not," James said. "That's just a simple fact."

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LeBron on Cavs' struggles: 'We can't sustain effort for 48 minutes'
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