LeBron James had 26 points in a brutal loss to the Raptors.
The Cleveland Cavaliers opened the season in a 5-7 funk of sorts. And during a timeout James took it upon himself to lead the huddle and rip into his teammates and coaches.
"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.
Irving certainly had a much better Thursday night than LeBron did, with the Celtics putting together a 22-point comeback in London to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 114-103. "We can't play around on the court". "Once again we're back to the beginning of the season".
Irving's replacement, Isaiah Thomas didn't help James' fury as the recovering point guard (hip) knocked down just 2 of 15 shots.
Frustration got the better of James, as he was captured by the TNT cameras in an animated yelling match with Cavs player development coach Phil Handy in the first half.
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DeRozan said the team was shell-shocked without Lowry against Miami, but figured things out from that debacle and used it against Cleveland. 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.
Jonas Valanciunas, left, dominated early, putting up nine points and nine rebounds in little more than six minutes. The midway point provides a good opportunity to check in on where we stand in terms of April playoff matchups.
"I mean, I would hope not", James said. Prior to the game, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue spoke about how unsafe the Raptors were despite those absences, a message that went unheard. Cleveland is one of the best teams in the NBA when motivated and will be playing on national television with plenty of rest.
The Timberwolves (27-16) lost in Boston, but they won at home over New Orleans, Cleveland and Oklahoma City. Pascal Siakam scored three straight buckets in the paint surrounded by Cavs big men who seemed hardly to be trying. The difference now is whether other teams in the East have caught up to them?
The plan worked - DeRozan was just 1-for-6 from the field in the first half for two points. 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. In fact, the Cavs are now closer to the bottom of the eastern conference standings-five games up on the No. 8 Pacers-than they are to first-place. As it turns out, they have just two wins in their last eight games and have no answers at the defensive end.