Cavaliers not ready for Warriors' visit

Paola Ditto
Gennaio 14, 2018

LeBron James and the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers absorbed their most-lopsided loss of the season when they were routed by the Toronto Raptors 133-99 on Thursday night. Karl-Anthony Towns recorded game highs with 23 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, helping the Timberwolves win a fourth straight game to begin a five-game homestand.

The Cavs have not beaten the Pacers in two meetings this season.

Cleveland will have another tough challenge on their hands with the Golden State Warriors Monday night (8 PM ET). Forward Serge Ibaka will return for Toronto after serving a one-game suspension for fighting Miami's James Johnson. DeRozan said on Friday it's a game Toronto could have won, pointing out that they had a lead with less than two minutes remaining, and said the Raptors have grown within their new system since. They hit 18 3-pointers, a season-high for 3s allowed by the Cavs.

James had 27 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and was called for a technical foul after reacting to Stephenson's jab by shoving him in the chest. Kevin Love, who has started at center this season, is averaging 19.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

Cleveland has a respectable 26-15 straight up (SU) record, but they have a hard time covering the spread (12-27-1 against the spread (ATS)).

Whatever the reason, the Cavs were inconsistently consistent.

IN ranks 14th in assists per game (22.7) while Cleveland ranks last in assists allowed per game (25.8). IN took the lead for good on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Victor Oladipo with 2:10 to play.

Then, right before the buzzer, he received a full-court outlet pass from with the Cavs down 97-95 after Collison went 1-for-2 at the line. On this night, the Cavs were done in by a scoreless stretch of 3:20 in the second quarter when the Raptors went on an 11-0 run to take a 55-34 lead.

Kemba Walker scored 22 points and Frank Kaminsky added 16 to lead Charlotte past visiting Utah for its fourth victory in six games. Toronto's big men benefited from the Raptors' shooting spreading the floor, with Valanciunas scoring 15 and pulling down 18 rebounds and Poeltl getting 12 and 12.

The scene in which James had some angry words mixed with head coach Tyronn Lue and then the huddle in which he seemed like he's yelling at his teammates didn't add anything positive to the perception of him and his team.

"We know that. But until we play better defensively, I think offensively sharing the basketball, everyone on the same page - and if guys have agendas, we've got to get rid of our agendas and play the right way".

With one of the league's worst defense, the Cavaliers are a shell of the team which got blown out in last year's NBA Finals. "We had something good going on in terms of putting Al Jefferson in pick-and-rolls".

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