Cavs Owner Joins Player Meeting To Discuss Team's Woes

By PAUL SINGER, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - His team mired in an 11-game losing streak, Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund made a rare appearance in the locker room after practice Friday to hear the players' views on what is going wrong.

Gund appeared at what was billed as a players-only meeting.

Players didn't begin to trickle out of the locker room until an hour after practice had ended.

Gund, who does not interact with the players very often, "wanted to know what was going on, how the guys felt about everything," said guard Ricky Davis. "He just wanted to get some insight from the players directly."

Davis refused to discuss specifics of the team meeting, other than to say, "everybody's disgusted with the losing." Cleveland hasn't had an 11-game losing skid since 1990-91.

The 61-year-old owner appears about every month at the arena that bears his name, but rarely meets with the players. He sat on the sidelines with general manager Jim Paxson during Friday's practice before joining the players in the locker room.

Coach John Lucas stayed behind to talk to reporters. "Too many meetings scare me," he said.

In the wake of a 94-85 loss to Washington on Thursday, Lucas said, "we're doing the best we can with what we have," but "what's hurting us is four or five minutes of bad play."

For instance, the Cavaliers led the Wizards 50-48 at the half, but were outscored 29-17 in the third quarter.

The team has been hit hard by injuries. Tyrone Hill, who was supposed to give the Cavs some inside muscle, has yet to play because of a bad back. Michael Doleac is also out injured. Lamond Murray, the club's leading scorer, broke his nose against the Clippers last week and will be on the injured list for at least two weeks while recovering from surgery.

But still, Lucas said, "We're right where I thought we'd be at this time of year."

"We're too young to be any good right now."

Lucas said he understands the players' frustrations, but said he is glad that they have not fallen to blaming each other for the losses.

"We've had buzzard luck," the coach said, but "I have to be patient with my team and not beat them up."

The Cavaliers play host to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night and will play 11 of their next 15 games at home.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)