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You cannot convince me LeBron and the Cavs are actually in trouble

We have that and more in Tuesday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

At long last, LeBron James is passive-aggressively posting memes to social media. He hit Instagram with the Arthur fist meme for some unknown reason. This came a day after the Cavaliers fell to the terrible Hawks, as Tyronn Lue said the team should be embarrassed about its 4-6 start.

Cleveland is tied for 11th in the conference, a game out of the playoffs and already 4.5 games behind scorching Boston (with scorching Kyrie Irving) for the No. 1 seed. The Cavs are No. 25 in the league in scoring margin at -4.9. Their defense is dead last in the NBA!

I don't care. I don't buy it. They will figure it out.

LeBron’s teams don't lose. LeBron's teams have won the East for seven straight years. That does not guarantee LeBron's team will win the East this year, too — all things end, in the end — but it's a strong indicator that LeBron's team is not suddenly hot garbage.

Losing Irving in a trade for an injured point guard, a good wing who has struggled to fit with LeBron, and a draft pick hurts in the here and now. The fit issues in the backcourt with Derrick Rose, who is not a high-quality player right now, are real. The lack of on-court urgency, especially on defense, from everyone is a bad look.

But worried about the Cavaliers? No. No. I refuse. This is LeBron. Wasn't it just last spring when concerns about a months-long defensive malaise had fools like me picking the Raptors to go to the finals? Yes, it was. Never again.

The Cavaliers have stuff to figure out. Whether they do or not, LeBron will carry them when it matters. A team cannot have a healthy LeBron — even one at the tail end of his prime — and be bad. It is not possible. These are not the real Cavaliers.

Scores Galore ...

BOS 110, ATL 107
BKN 98, PHX 92
MIA 80, GSW 97

... And So Much More

Look, the Celtics have won nine straight games. They are good, y'all. So are Kyrie's handles.

The 76ers are holding Joel Embiid out with a DNP-Load Management, which is something they used last season too. How is there not an NBA podcast named Load Management already?

You know how jerseys keep tearing this season? Nike is apparently working on a fix.

I wrote about the Mavericks' decision to effectively sabotage Nerlens Noel and themselves.

What fell out of Ty Lue's mouth on Sunday?

I missed this excellent Kyle Lowry ejection, capped with a kiss on his baby son's head, on Sunday. Glorious.

Harvey Araton on Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf's protest.

Six players showing major progress so far this season.

Are the Pistons legitimately good?

The latest twist in the saga of Markelle Fultz: He is shooting left-handed. It's hard to think of a weirder start for a No. 1 overall pick.

The Pelicans started 1-9 in each of the last two seasons. So 5-5 looks pretty good, eh?

Why NBA players are slimming down.

D'Angelo Russell is still fighting against his Lakers' reputation.

Luol Deng wants to play. Somewhere.

Why did Miles Bridges go back to Michigan State?

Wait, UCLA's new point guard is named Jaylen Hands? Steve Alford recruited point guards named Lonzo Ball and Jaylen Hands back to back? Legend.

The top European players in college basketball this season.

Gregg Popovich and Pau Gasol on the tragedy in Sutherland Springs. Steve Kerr calls gun violence a "public health issue." There is a strong research-based case for this approach, which is to say Kerr is well-read on the topic, which is not remotely surprising.

Up next: The Bucks get a crack at the flailing Cavaliers on NBA TV (7 p.m. ET), and the Thunder visit the Kings in the late game on that network (10 p.m. ET). Lots of other intriguing games. Full schedule here.

Be excellent to each other.