NBA Raptors romp as James, Cavs struggle
Points margin is biggest in loss to date
LeBron James isn’t enjoying the view lately, watching the end of blowout losses from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench.
James and his struggling Cavaliers absorbed their most-lopsided rout of the season, overwhelmed by the Toronto Raptors 133-99 on Thursday night.
The Cavaliers have dropped six of eight dating to a Christmas Day defeat at defending champion Golden State. James scored 26 points in this loss while Isaiah Thomas missed his first 11 shots.
“I don’t know where it kind of went wrong or what happened,” James said. “We’ve got to try to pick it back up and find it.”
After losing to Minnesota 127-99 on Monday, the Cavaliers fell by an even bigger margin. Toronto’s 133 points were the most by any Cavaliers opponent this season, and marked the third straight game that Cleveland has allowed at least 127.
So, what has been James’ biggest beef with Cleveland’s last two losses?
“That I haven’t played in the fourth quarter,” he said, adding his team is getting “tore up.”
Kevin Love, who scored 10 points, said he’s confident the Cavs can turn it around in time to reach the finals for a fourth straight season.
“We have enough talent here to get over that hump and make a lot of good things happen,” Love said. “Right now it’s just tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it is there. We will get out of it and we will get better.”
Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 22 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and a season-high 18 rebounds and the Raptors overcame the absences of two starters.
C.J.Miles scored 16 points, Pascal Siakam and Norm Powell each had 14 and DeMar DeRozan 13 for the Raptors, who were without point guard Kyle Lowry (bruised tailbone) and forward Serge Ibaka (suspension). Jakob Poeltl had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors.
VanVleet made six of eight 3-point attempts as the Raptors connected on a season-high 18 shots from beyond the arc.
“I was really proud of the way he came to play,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Toronto’s 12-game home winning streak was snapped in Tuesday’s loss to Miami, but the Raptors bounced back in their first meeting with Cleveland since the Cavaliers swept the Raptors out of the second round of the playoffs last May.
Thomas connecting on a short jumper at 7:22 of the third quarter for his first basket. He finished 2 for 15 and went 0 for 6 from 3-point range. Playing for the fourth time this season as he returns from a right hip injury, Thomas scored four points in 24 minutes.
“He’ll be fine,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “He’s going to have to work out some kinks, but he’ll be fine.”
Lowry missed his second straight game after he was injured in a heavy fall in overtime of Monday’s win at Brooklyn.
Cavaliers: Thomas is expected to rest when Cleveland concludes a back-to-back by visiting Indiana on Friday. The Pacers have won both meetings with the Cavs this season.
Raptors: Host Golden State on Saturday. Toronto has lost seven straight to the Warriors.