The Cavs were outscored 84-61 over the final three quarters of their seventh loss in nine games, 97-95 at Indiana.
Right now, Cleveland will just have to address these internal issues at a later time as they have another game tomorrow against the 8-seeded Indiana Pacers to close out their forgettable 3-game road trip. They are 3-7 over their last 10, and are closer to eighth-4 games back of Indiana-than they are to first.
In other results, Charlotte trounced Utah, 99-88; Washington subdued Orlando, 125-119; Brooklyn repulsed Atlanta, 110-105; Golden State routed Milwaukee, 108-94; Minnesota crushed NY, 118-108; New Orleans turned back Portland, 119-113; Houston downed Phoenix, 112-95; and Denver clipped Memphis.
It started out looking like the kind of game the Cavaliers have been in dire need of in recent weeks. On this night, the Cavs were done in by a scoreless stretch of 3:20 in the second quarter when the Raptors went on an 11-0 run to take a 55-34 lead.
Slim margin, but it looks like they got the call right.
James and Irving, of course, share a storied history, dating back to their three seasons as teammates in Cleveland and Irving's bitter departure from the Cavs this past offseason.
Indiana, behind Victor Oldaipo and Lance Stephenson, began chipping away throughout the second quarter and broke through in the third.
Marvin Williams scored 15 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 12 for Charlotte, which won despite an off night for Dwight Howard, who scored two first-half points.More news: Research Ratings: MGM Resorts International (MGM), Electronics for Imaging, Inc. (EFII)
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But if a player like Jordan, Paul George or DeMarcus Cousins becomes available, expect Thompson to be the marquee player leaving the Cavs.
The Cleveland Cavaliers gave away a 22-point lead in a shock loss to the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Association on Friday. James posted 39 points in Cleveland's loss to the Bucks on December 19 and 14 assists in the Cavs' loss to the Kings on December 27. He got another chance with a desperation three-pointer as time expired, but missed.
But the guy with a knack for getting inside opponents' heads with unthinkable stunts, like blowing in James' ear or giving him a thumb in the side - as television replays showed during the game - played the instigator perfectly.
IN ranks 14th in assists per game (22.7) while Cleveland ranks last in assists allowed per game (25.8).
In Sacramento, California, Tyrone Wallace intercepted a pass at mid-court and drove in for a dunk with 10.9 seconds left, moments after what looked like a costly turnover by Lou Williams, as Los Angeles held off Sacramento after blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green led the way for Golden State in the win, combining for 47 points with Stephen Curry sidelined.
Rookie Jayson Tatum helped turn the tide, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the decisive third period.
"They're two good tests for us, two good games". Lance continued to pester LeBron throughout the night until he just finally had enough. "He's a little dirty", said James. I've known since school that it's not the guy who tells the joke who gets caught, it's the guy who laughs.