James, struggling Cavs routed again, Raptors romp 133-99

Aubrey Yates
January 13, 2018

"The report comes on the heels of Cleveland's second straight blowout loss, as the Cavaliers fell 133-99 to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday".

The Cavaliers have dropped six of eight dating to a Christmas Day loss at defending champion Golden State. They seemed to have broken that narrative at least in the first half of Friday's road game against the Indiana Pacers, though, as they limited Victor Oladipo and company to only 44 points in the first two quarters of the contest. Once again we're back to the beginning of the season, and we've just got to find a way to get out of it. The last two efforts have been particularly alarming.

"My job is down low, grab those rebounds, I always say that".

But it will be another story against the Warriors, who pioneered the run-and-gun style and used it to beat the Cavs in last year's NBA Finals.

"Well, we're adjusting a little bit better offensively the way we want to play to be effective and efficient every night", said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. "It's just been a process of us learning a right rhythm, finding a comfort within it. We will get out of it and we will get better". Jakob Poeltl had a rough outing on Tuesday against Bam Adebayo, Pascal Siakam's scoring touch had been missing for a while, and Norman Powell had looked out of place in nearly any role he was asked to perform. James missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. That will likely be the largest media narrative coming out of Thursday night's huge Raptors win too, that the Cavs just didn't play interested enough and didn't have the intensity to win that game.

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What's even more remarkable is that scattered among their 11 losses are several games that were all but won save for some late-game breakdowns. Point guard Darren Collison paced the team by connecting on his first nine shots and scoring 22 points in the win. Despite the fact that newcomer Isaiah Thomas spent the first couple months of the season on the bench recovering from a hip injury and the team lost Kyrie Irving in the trade for IT, it's obvious that the Cavaliers now have a few issues to solve. "He's going to have to work out some kinks, but he'll be fine". Serge Ibaka returns to the lineup after missing the previous game to serve a one-game suspension.

Leading 30-24 after one quarter, the Raptors extended their lead in the second thanks to their bench. He finished with four points and registered a minus-20. G Iman Shumpert, out since November 20 with a knee injury, is also expected to miss Friday's game. Raptors reserves also contributed 39 rebounds and 22 assists while shooting 53 percent form the floor and 47 percent from beyond the arc.

The Cavs rank 29th in defensive rating, giving up 109.5 points per 100 possessions, better only than the 13-28 Sacramento Kings.

They're second only to Golden State in the National Basketball Association in net rating. Cleveland's Dwyane Wade answered with a dunk before time expired on the period. They are 1-6 in those seven.

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