Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers Preview 01/12/18

APTOPIX-Cavaliers-Pacers-Basketball

APTOPIX-Cavaliers-Pacers-Basketball

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 post-season.

For the second time this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers look like a team that doesn't belong with the league's elite, as the memes about the Toronto Raptors ripping them to shreds are pouring in, without forgetting about LeBron James looking to leave.

Slipping to 6 1/2 games behind the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference at the midpoint of the season, the Cavs (26-15) fell to 1-3 on their five-game road trip that concludes Friday night in Indiana.

However, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this week the Cavs aren't willing to include the Nets' pick in a deal for Jordan at this stage in the season.

It does not feel good to be a Cleveland Cavaliers fan these days.

DeMar DeRozan, who's been on a scoring tear as of late, finished with just 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Forward Serge Ibaka will return for Toronto after serving a one-game suspension for fighting Miami's James Johnson.

APTOPIX-Cavaliers-Pacers-Basketball-2
Cleveland Cavaliers Cedi Osman dunks during the first half of Friday's game against the Indiana Pacers. ASSOCIATED PRESS

While Kevin Garnett made some valid points that the Raptors have failed to translate their regular season success to the playoffs, that may not be the case this year.

Cleveland, which lost its previous two games by a combined 62 points, was outscored 84-61 over the final three quarters.

The Raptors will reach the midway point of their schedule Saturday with their 41st game, and their 29 wins are the most they have had half way through a season in franchise history.

For the first time in his National Basketball Association career, James has lost consecutive games by 25-plus points following Thursday's forgettable result. I'm very low on the Cavs and don't think these struggles are a fluke. They improved to 3-0 on the season against Cleveland. DeRozan managed just 13 points on below 40-percent shooting, although he was able to set up teammates dishing 8 dimes without a turnover.

At Minnesota, the game was virtually over when the Timberwolves jumped out to a 20-4 lead on the Cavs. The Pacers then took their first lead since the opening minutes on Darren Collison's corner jumper with 10.1 seconds left in the frame, and - rather stunningly - led heading into the fourth quarter. Thomas went 0-for-11 with several attempts blocked before ending the drought with 7:22 left in the third quarter.

Love wasn't as bad as the other two, but he only dropped in 10 points and missed six of his eight field goals. At this point, three and a half, four years in this thing, I hope not. "We didn't really push, didn't really attack", Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said. The Indiana Pacers have lost six of their last nine home games. "We still have work to do to get to where we want to go, and I know it sounds like coach speak, but it's true".


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