The Cavaliers were thumped by 28 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday and got crushed by the Raptors despite Toronto playing without two of their stars - Kyle Lowry (tailbone) and Serge Ibaka (suspension).
It's been a bad stretch of games for Cleveland, as they now find themselves 6.5 games behind the Boston Celtics at the top of the Eastern Conference, and 3.5 games behind the Raptors in second. Jonas Valanciunas had 18, helping to set the early tone. Pascal Siakam scored three straight buckets in the paint surrounded by Cavs big men who seemed hardly to be trying.
After a tight first quarter, the Raptors onslaught began in the second quarter, outscoring the Cavs 35-16 in the period.
Popovich pointed to that candid interaction with Aldridge as somewhat of a catalyst for the two coming to a better understanding before the start of the season. VanVleet's now 10 for his past 21 from beyond the arc.
Without fellow all-star Lowry in the backcourt with him, DeRozan drew double and sometimes triple teams all night. He is gaining a reputation as the best shot-blocking guard in the National Basketball Association, especially on the weak side or coming from behind. Part of the Raptors success was DeRozan's ability to read Cleveland's defence and find passing lanes. Poeltl also added 12 boards for the double-double finish. "But he's moving around, moving much better than he was the other day". Most interesting was his thoughts on his future.
Just about every aspect of the Cavs looked bad, except for LeBron James' shoe game.
"We all have to be held accountable for how well we play, how we play, how hard we play, and what we are going to do for another", James said.
"I've already went further than I thought I'd go so everything else at this point is extra credit. So, I don't know". "Right now it's just tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it is there". I'm not confident. I'm not sure you want me here.
It is incredible to consider that James was hyped as the next big thing when he was only slightly older than his son is now.
DeRozan said the team was shell-shocked without Lowry against Miami, but figured things out from that debacle and used it against Cleveland. The three losses came by an average of 13.7 points, and when the Thunder are on, they can compete with anyone in the league. "He's continuing to just excel", Miles said.
Then there was a curious comment after the game by Lue, who said, "If guys have agendas, we've got to get rid of our agendas and play the right way". It's things we can fix, that's the good thing about it.
While America loves a good Petty War, they may have to look elsewhere for a battle this time.
"That's one of the best jobs", said Casey.