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The View Beyond Pluto: The Cavs' Win Over the Lakers Puts the 'LeBron Factor' on Display

The Cavs snapped a 12-game losing streak by beating the Lakers, who were without the injured LeBron James
The Cavs snapped a 12-game losing streak by beating the Lakers, who were without the injured LeBron James

The Cavs snapped their 12-game losing streak this past Sunday and it was against the L.A. Lakers. That’s former Cavs star LeBron James’ new team. No, they didn’t beat LeBron James.  James missed his 11th straight game with a groin injury. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says it shows just how much a franchise player means to a team.

“These are the Cavs without Kevin Love, Larry Nance, Jr., Rodney Hood has had a bad foot and Tristan Thompson’s on a knee that’s not 100 percent. Yeah, the Lakers don’t have LeBron, but they’re at home and the Cavs can’t beat anybody.”

“These teams that have LeBron, they get addicted to LeBron. They don’t know how to handle it when he’s not there.”

The Lakers, as of Tuesday, are 3-7 without James in the lineup this season.

Pluto says the Cavs were 4-18 without James from 2014 through 2016. (He played every game in 2017).

“And, they had Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love some of those years. But you get so used to being dependent on him.”

"The Cavs were the worst team over the previous four years when LeBron was in Miami, and now they’re the worst team in the NBA. I don’t think there’s ever been quite a franchise player like LeBron James. When you have Lebron, you’re playing for a title. When you don’t, most of the time you’re playing for ping pong balls.”

As for the Cavs, Pluto says everything they planned for this season went wrong. They fired former coach Tyronn Lue after losing their first six games. And then the injuries have piled up, including star Kevin Love, who’s expected to return from toe surgery later this month.

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Amanda Rabinowitz
Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. Her days begin before the sun comes up as the local anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition, which airs on WKSU each weekday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio’s sports scene.