Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Raptors bench runs wild on Cavaliers

Five Keys Cavaliers at Raptors   
    
      
  Ron Turenne  NBAE  Getty Images Five Keys Cavaliers at Raptors Ron Turenne NBAE Getty Images
Rita Gibson | 13 January, 2018, 14:23

The slumping Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a crushing 133-99 defeat to the Toronto Raptors as LeBron James was left less than impressed.

Things do not get easier for the Cavaliers as the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, are in town this coming Monday. So when Irving witnessed a video of James laying into his Cavaliers teammates on Thursday night, it elicited an impulsive - or perhaps intentional - response from the Boston Celtics guard, which manifested itself in the form of an Instagram like. "I try to channel it because you know they watching us and LeBron is probably looking for me to do something".

Isaiah Thomas returned to the court after missing the beginning of the season with a hip injury.

Cameroon's Joel Embiid added 16 points and Aussie Ben Simmons chipped in 15 for Philadelphia and for a time it looked as if the eighth regular-season National Basketball Association game to be played in London could see the 76ers on the right side of the kind of blowout that fans there saw a year ago, when the Denver Nuggets trounced the Indiana Pacers 140-112.

Trying to pinpoint an issue, James noted after this loss that the Cavaliers don't have enough energy in the fourth quarter. But it could be a cause for concern for Cavaliers fans who are growing impatient with the way the team is playing right now.

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Before the game, LeBron James told ESPN, "This is just us during the regular season". 18 years I've been in this light right here.

We thought that the Minnesota Timberwolves smashing the Cleveland Cavaliers by 28 was as bad as it could get. Fred VanVleet notched a team-high 22 points while Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell and Jakob Poeltl had 16, 14 and 12 points, respectively. James led the way with 26 points but only had one assist.

However, Cleveland lacked defensive pressure against an opponent that was playing without two starters in Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. They might as well put a spotlight on their matchup at both ends in the fourth quarter. Oladipo sank a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 96-95 lead with 2:10 to go. That's usually a combination that equates to postseason success.In terms of point differential, the Cavs are 11th while Toronto ranks second, trailing the Golden State Warriors.Despite the Cavs' awful stretch, ranking as the league's worst defense in the three games since Isaiah Thomas - who was supposed to lift the team to new heights - in the starting lineup, the Cavs don't seem too concerned. Frye started the second quarter and the Raptors' lead quickly increased from six to 12 before coach Tyronn Lue pulled him after four minutes. "He's going to have to work out some kinks, but he'll be fine".

And hope is a big thing for a fanbase and a team that was expected to struggle to win games this season. Lowry participated in shootaround Thursday morning but is still too sore to play.

Leading 30-24 after one quarter, the Raptors extended their lead in the second thanks to their bench.

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