James livid over another rout

Toronto forward C.J. Miles driving to the basket against Cleveland forward LeBron James at Air Canada Centre. It is the first time James has lost successive games by at least 25 points.
Toronto forward C.J. Miles driving to the basket against Cleveland forward LeBron James at Air Canada Centre. It is the first time James has lost successive games by at least 25 points.PHOTO: REUTERS

Superstar demands quick pickup after Raptors hand Cavs 6th defeat in 8 games

TORONTO • A furious LeBron James was left less than impressed following the Cleveland Cavaliers' massive 133-99 defeat by the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday.

But who could blame him? For the first time in his National Basketball Association (NBA) career, the 33-year-old forward has lost consecutive games by 25 or more points. And on a larger scale of things, the Cavaliers (26-15) have suffered their most lopsided loss of the season.

James was understandably frustrated, and he was caught on cameras in the first half of the game lashing out at his team-mates and assistant coach Phil Handy, after Pascal Siakam dunked with little resistance.

"We've all got to be accountable for actions, accountable for how we play, how hard we play, what we're doing for one another," he told reporters after the game.

"So, just trying to hold everybody accountable and move on."

Prior to Thursday's blowout defeat, Cleveland also lost 99-127 to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.

The margins of defeat - 34 and 28 - represent the Cavaliers' two worst of the season.

  • 34

  •  Cavaliers' margin of defeat by the Raptors is their worst this season.

Toronto's 133 points were the most by a Cleveland opponent this season, and marked the third consecutive contest that they have allowed at least 127.

The Cavaliers have also played nine of their past 11 games on the road, losing seven with four of them by more than 10 points.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue suggested that there were "agendas" within the team but did not clarify what he meant.

"We've got to be better. 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," he said.

When pressed on it, he replied: "I don't know."

Fred VanVleet came off the bench to score 22 points as Toronto (29-11) improved to a 15-2 at home despite playing on Thursday without starters Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.

C.J. Miles scored 16 points, Pascal Siakam and Norm Powell each had 14 and DeMar DeRozan contributed 13 for the Raptors.

James finished with 26 points for Cleveland, who have lost six of eight games going back to a defeat by defending champions the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.

Apart from the superstar, it was one of the Cavaliers' worst shooting nights - just 38.2 per cent from the field and a mere 23.1 per cent from three-point territory.

Kevin Love had only 10 points on 2-for-8 shooting, while Isaiah Thomas missed his first 11 shots and finished 2-for-15 for four points.

J.R. Smith went 0-for-5 following his 0-for-7 against the Timberwolves. Cleveland's bench were also outclassed by Toronto's reserves 76-48.

"I don't know where it kind of went wrong or what happened," James added.

"We've got to try to pick it back up and find it."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'James livid over another rout'. Print Edition | Subscribe