LeBron James' pending free agency is one of several factors that could lead to a rich, long-term deal between Isaiah Thomas and the Cavs.
Points are proving hard to come by for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who trailed by 25 points at halftime against the Toronto Raptors. So, here are Toronto's keys to its first matchup of the season against Cleveland as they look to add to their 2.5-game lead in the standings.
A video of James made it to the Instagram account ballgod. Times where we are playing well. "Once again, we are back to the beginning of the season".
James and Tristan Thompson managed to hit on 9-of-15 from the field in the first half, combining for 21 of the Cavs' 40 points. "Just some plays that we should come up with, that you should make".
James, on the other hand, was skeptical at the thought that any of his teammates could be playing for any reason other than the team's success.
The Cavs are 29th in defensive rating, allowing 109 points per 100 possessions - an indication that they are not primed for long-term playoff success.
Coach Lue, meanwhile, had a different perspective of their 7 loss in 10 games. This was unfitting for a three-time defending Eastern Conference champion against a fellow contender, and so James let them all hear it. It shows that this team is embracing the new style of play that has brought them a lot of success so far this season. "We've got to take advantage of that".
"I mean, I would hope not", James said. With their length and athleticism all over the floor, the Bucks should really be better than 23 in defensive efficiency and they're not good enough offensively to get away with that.
"We're a veteran team and we know what we're capable of, and it can't be so easy for us to get in those lulls and not try to dig ourselves out of them", Love said. Pascal Siakam scored three straight buckets in the paint surrounded by Cavs big men who seemed hardly to be trying. Boston can't do it two years in a row, due to league rules, so it's just Cleveland Toronto is jockeying with for that honour. 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. It makes them more unsafe.
It was the second of a tough three-game stretch for the Raptors where they played the Southeast Division-leading Heat, the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers, and then the National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday.
With only two losses at the Air Canada Centre this season, the Raptors are establishing a dominance that can make them a risky team if they can secure home court advantage.