LeBron James, Tyronn Lue both see issues Cleveland Cavaliers must address


Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas (rest) will not play Thursday against the Toronto Raptors, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Pretenders and contenders are sorting themselves out. So what are the Raptors keys to the game ahead of this marquee matchup?

Then Lue and the Cavaliers went out and were anything but.

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.

Home Court Advantage: Toronto has used their home court advantage nicely thus far.

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The Cavaliers have played nine of their past 11 games on the road, losing seven with four of them by more than 10 points. They are supposed to be the second-best team in the entire National Basketball Association, yet their record is good enough for only the third place in the East. "The Cleveland game is important because it's a conference game, a team we're going to be in a fight with, but it won't make or break our season". During their thirteen game win streak, Frye alone shot exactly 50% from beyond the arc by connecting on 39 of 78 three-point shots. The injury looked horrific, and he was carried off the floor.

Lowry was out with a bruised tailbone. The loss was the Cavaliers' seventh in their last 10 contests.

Raptors superstar DeMar DeRozan also only had 13 points as most of the damage came off the bench.

Due to this altercation, Ibaka and Johnson were both suspended one game by the league. Cleveland may well have done so anyway given the 28-year-old's torrid form over the past six weeks, but it was clear that the visitors were going to double up on their coverage of Toronto's talisman all night long. So, look for Pascal Siakam to step in and take Ibaka's place. He was hurt after a nasty fall in Toronto's 114-113 overtime win in Brooklyn on Monday night and also missed the Raptors' 90-89 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday. While some lackadaisical play could be expected for a team coming off three straight NBA Finals appearances, Thursday, supposedly, would be a night that would grab Cleveland's attention. The former USC Trojan is going to have to run most of the offense to be able to score enough to keep up with the Cavs high-octane offense. If there are agendas, I don't see it. But since beating the Wizards on the road almost a month ago, the Cavs have lost seven of their last 10 and are headed for another defeat in Thursday's game in Toronto.