CLEVELAND -- All signs pointed to an ugly outcome for the Raptors and neither the host Cavaliers nor the visitors disappointed in that regard.
Anyone looking for a measure of just how far behind the top teams in the NBA the Raptors are need look no further than last night's 20-point drubbing by the Cavs.
The Raptors work-in-progress defence, which made all those strides Sunday against Portland, took just as many steps backward last night against a firing-on-all-cylinders Cavs offence, which now is a perfect 12-0 at home and showing no signs of letting up after their 114-94 win.
The major culprit this time though wasn't rebounding or poor execution in the half-court, or even poor execution in transition. Last night was all about the Raptors' turnovers, 19 of them, in fact, which led to 27 Cavaliers points.
It started with back-to-back steals that lead to uncontested dunks by LeBron James, firing up even more an already fired-up crowd.
The Raps clawed back with a healthy 15-4 run towards the end of the second quarter but less than two minutes into the third the Cavs' lead was back up to double digits. They went on a 23-4 run to start the third to salt this one away.
"It's just not taking care of the ball on the offensive end and when you don't do that, they run out and score on layups," head coach Jay Triano said. "We just have to get more in sync as far as where we are going to be and move the ball. You saw the last six minutes of the second quarter (a 15-4 Toronto run that cut the Cavs lead to four).
"We moved the ball and shared the ball and we were very good. The third quarter we try to share the basketball and it turns into layups going the other way."
Chris Bosh, who was limited to just 11 field-goal attempts and matched a season low with nine points, said there's no point in getting angry at the situation the team finds itself in, having lost five in a row and looking ahead at a schedule that isn't going to allow much in the way of practice time until well after the calendar turns to 2009.
"You either sulk and complain or you keep going and stay optimistic," Bosh said. "Whatever happened has happened. Is it a tough schedule? Yes. Does everybody have tough days in the league? Yes. You have to be tough just to keep going. I understand it.
" It's a very tough situation we are in but I don't think we are having the correct mindset coming in. I think we can do a better job of that. (We have to) come in with a winning mentality.
"We have to focus a little more and maybe we don't make those turnovers and give them those easy baskets."
Bosh seemed to have no problem with his Olympic gold-medal winning teammate James styling dunks or hamming it up on the sidelines during timeouts late in the game, when he was caught dancing with teammates.
"You're supposed to have a good time," Bosh said. "I'd be having a good time too if we were 18-3."
Joey Graham lead all Raptors with 17 points in 22 minutes. James had 31 after three quarters to lead the Cavs and never played a minute in the fourth.
The Cavs became the first team in NBA history to win nine consecutive games by a margin of 12 points or more.
"We're on a list of teams where LeBron doesn't have to play in the fourth quarter," Triano said. "They're running teams out. That's no consolation for us. They're aggressive with their defence and they're letting their defence create offence for them."
It's exactly what Triano is trying to establish with his own defence but so far it's still a work in progress.