"We are in a funk", Cavs star LeBron James said of a 3-7 record since December 19.
The slumping Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a crushing 133-99 defeat to the Toronto Raptors as LeBron James was left less than impressed. To top it off, this was the only game that would be on a national network in the USA, and it was the Raptors who gave Cleveland a taste of their own medicine.
One of Instagram's great features is how it seems to serendipitously display likes and comments from the most relevant people to spark the NBA Petty Warz machine.
Fellow soph Fred VanVleet will get all the headlines and deservingly so after torching the Cavs for a career-high 22 points and going 6-for-8 from beyond the arc. Times where we are playing well.
Cleveland showed its unseemly side again, losing for the seventh time in its past 10 games - looking more like the team that started the season 5-7 through its first 12 games than the squad that reeled off 18 wins in 19 games to follow that.
We'll never know for sure, but it's possible the Cavs would be better if they still had Kyrie Irving at point guard instead of Isaiah Thomas. It's going to start with us and just everybody getting back to what we were doing when we were playing good ball.
James has used that word to describe his teams in the past.
Maybe the defensive slippage is the biggest difference, but the Cavs have increased their defensive intensity, at least in the Eastern Conference playoffs, when needed. "This is just us". The Cavaliers' regular-season play has gone in patches of mediocrity and stretches of brilliance so far, but there is still the sense that they are just waiting to explode in the postseason.
Handy is the Cavs assistant coach who probably had the closest relationship with Irving.
"I mean, I would hope not", James said. "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". The difference now is whether other teams in the East have caught up to them?
The Timberwolves (27-16) lost in Boston, but they won at home over New Orleans, Cleveland and Oklahoma City. At this point, three and a half, four years in this thing, I hope not. In their place has emerged a far more egalitarian system, created to make Toronto far less predictable when it enters the crucible of the NBA's postseason. When that ball's moving and they don't know where it's coming from, it's more hard to guard.
While his usage is down by over four percent from previous year, DeMar DeRozan is having his most efficient season for the Raptors, with a true shooting percentage of 58.0% and an offensive rating of 112.8.