Cavs blow 22-point lead at Indiana

Things can - and likely will - change by the end of the season.almost one month ago, the Cavs were capping their best stretch of basketball, winning their 18th game in 19 tries.

For the first time, Clifford disclosed his absence was stress-related. Not now, of course. "They've still got DeRozan, who's averaging (32) points a game over his last (six)". James was asked about players having different agendas, which coach Tyronn Lue spoke of in his postgame interview, which brought up question of possible locker room issues. The Cavs can certainly ramp up the effort in the second half of the season and improve some of their defensive woes, but at the moment, the Cavs wouldn't have much to lose on defense if they did play Sullivan.

Without both their starting point guard and backup point guard in the lineup - and were both given the night off to rest - Cleveland built a 22-point lead, had its best defensive quarter of the season by holding in to 12 points in the opening frame and kept the Pacers to 97 points overall (far better than the 127, 127 and 133 the, and hung on them the previous three games). Only this time, Toronto's supporting cast made the Cavs pay for the risky strategy.

It is easy to understand why James was livid as the Cavs lost for the seventh time in their last 10 games. That should've led to a blowout. But we expect more for Oladipo. The added attention opened outside shots for teammates and gave Toronto's bigs second-chance opportunities.

Valanciunas almost had a double-double in the first quarter, when he totaled nine points and nine rebounds in a little over six minutes because of foul trouble. It's hard to believe a team with a defence ranked 29th in the National Basketball Association remains in a position where it is considered a post-season contender.

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The Cavs rank 29th in defensive rating, giving up 109.5 points per 100 possessions, better only than the 13-28 Sacramento Kings.

There will undoubtedly be plenty of questions asked about Cleveland's defence over the next three months, and about whether they can make another run through the post-season with an aging roster that's struggling to stop anybody, let alone the best the league has to offer. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green led the way for Golden State in the win, combining for 47 points with Stephen Curry sidelined. The over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.

"Lance just a little dirty, that's all", James said.

Looking back to last season, the Cavaliers were atop the Eastern Conference with a 30-11 record. Just gotta find a way to get out of it. LeBron downplayed that comment by suggesting the Cavaliers simply need to get back to "playing ball the right way".

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