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Struggling Cavaliers continue road trip in Toronto

Sports Xchange - Thursday 11th January, 2018

TORONTO -- The Cleveland Cavaliers will be in a difficult spot to try to end their road struggles Thursday night.

They will be playing the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre.

Despite a 90-89 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, the Raptors (28-11) are 14-2 at home. Before the last-second loss to the Heat on a defensive breakdown, they had tied their club record with 12 straight home wins.

The Cavaliers (26-14) are coming off a 127-99 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday -- their largest margin of defeat this season -- and have dropped two of the first three games of a five-game road trip. They are 11-10 on the road this season.

"We've just got to play harder," said Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas, who learned Wednesday that he has been fined $20,000 for clotheslining Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins in the third quarter Monday.

The Cavaliers have played eight of their past 10 games on the road, losing six with three of them by more than 10 points.

The Raptors likely will be without guard Kyle Lowry, who is listed as day-to-day with a bruised tailbone and back spasms, for the second game in a row. Lowry was injured late in overtime in the victory over the Brooklyn Nets Monday.

Toronto will be without forward Serge Ibaka, who was suspended for one game for an altercation in the third quarter Tuesday with Miami's James Johnson, who also received a one-game suspension. Both were ejected from the game.

Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan also was fined $25,000 on Wednesday for an incident at the end of the game Tuesday with Miami guard Goran Dragic, who was fined $10,000.

Before practice in Toronto on Wednesday, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue showed his team video of the first quarter against Minnesota.

"You could just see it, (Lue) doesn't even have to say anything," said Thomas, who will be playing his fourth game of the season Thursday after being sideline with a hip injury. "Film doesn't lie and we've just got to be more physical. ... I mean when guys saw it on film today, it was like, it was obvious. It's definitely more of an effort thing."

The Cavaliers had hopes that guard Derrick Rose, who has been out since Nov. 7 with an ankle injury, might return to competition during this trip but he will not play Thursday in Toronto or Friday at Indiana.

Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert, who has been out since Nov. 20 with a knee injury, will not make his return Thursday as had been hoped.

"We thought (Shumpert) he was (closer to a return)," Lue said. "He had some soreness in his foot or whatever."

Lue also said there will be no changes in his lineup for the game Thursday.

The Raptors, meanwhile, missed Lowry against the Heat.

"I mean, the whole game is completely different without Kyle," said DeRozan, who scored 25 points and gave Toronto an 89-88 lead on a basket with 3.1 seconds left. "You can kind of tell with our ball movement wasn't all the way there like it normally be when Kyle's out there. Like I said, he's a general on the floor. He sees things when they need to be called. That's no excuse."

The Raptors are 11-3 in their past 14 games.

They were playing the second of back-to-back games Tuesday as well as being without Lowry.

"We didn't focus, back-to-back, it doesn't matter," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said after the game Tuesday. "We get in three in the morning, doesn't matter. Nobody cares. I know Miami didn't care. They get 20 offensive rebounds. We hold a team to 40 percent.

"It's attention to detail, hitting someone before the shots missed, we didn't do those things. And then you put yourself in a position where it's down to the end of the game and you have to execute a defensive scheme, and carry out things you have to do. You put yourself in a position where it started way before that. ... we didn't play well enough to win."

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