Cavaliers take 3-0 series lead over Raptors
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[May 06, 2017]
TORONTO -- It was a matter of
too much LeBron James and no Kyle Lowry on Friday night.
The result was a 115-94 victory for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the
Toronto Raptors and a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference
semifinals for the defending NBA champions.
The Cavaliers have a chance to complete a series sweep in Game 4
Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre.
While James scored 35 points for the Cavaliers, Lowry did not play
at all for the Raptors because of a sprained left ankle.
Playing without its All-Star point guard,Toronto gave the Cavaliers
all they could handle for the first three quarters.
The Raptors led by three points at the end of the first half and
trailed by only two points entering the fourth quarter before
Cleveland took over.
While the Raptors were running out of gas, the Cavaliers went on a
20-3 run to take a 19-point lead.
"We couldn't get anything to fall for us and they turned it on
offensively and ran away with it," said Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan,
who had a career playoff-best 37 points after scoring a career
playoff-low five points in Game 2.
The Cavaliers outscored the Raptors 36-17 in the final quarter, with
James scoring 13 of the points in fewer than nine minutes of playing
"When we're getting stops, we're a dangerous team," Cavaliers coach
Tyronn Lue said. "It was an all-round good game for us rebounding,
offensively and defensively so we just have to keep that up."
DeRozan had one point in the fourth quarter.
"We just tried to do different coverages to try and wear him down,"
Lue said. "We just tried to mix it up and keep him off balance, and
in the fourth quarter he kind of got out of rhythm."
"I liked our fight, I loved the way our guys competed," Raptors
coach Dwane Casey said. "There was no back down."
Lowry, who suffered a sprained left ankle in the second half of Game
2 Wednesday, was listed as questionable for the game Friday. He
participated in the warmup and was listed as active for the game,
but Cory Joseph started in his place. Lowry remained on the bench
for the whole game.
"He just couldn't go," Casey said. "He was limping badly."
Kevin Love added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers. Kyrie
Irving also scored 16 points and Kyle Korver had 14 points while
going 4-for-6 in 3-point attempts. Tristan Thompson added nine
points and 12 rebounds.
"We just want to try to get better every game," James said.
"Tonight, we did that once again. We knew we were coming into a
hostile environment. We knew they were going to give us everything
they had no matter who was in the lineup and we just had to weather
the storm. We didn't know whether it was going to take 36 minutes,
or 40 minutes, but we knew if we just play our game and pay
attention to our details, we would have an opportunity the win the
The Cavaliers had a 49-25 advantage in rebounding.
Jonas Valanciunas collected 19 points and eight rebounds for the
Raptors, with Norman Powell chipping in with 13 points and Serge
Ibaka scoring 12.
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Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) passes the ball against the
Toronto Raptors during game three of the second round of the 2017
NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E.
Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto shot only 2 of 18 from 3-point range while
the Cavaliers were 13 of 23.
"It's tough," DeRozan said. "Coming into the fourth, we couldn't hit
any threes. You see them knocking down 3s left and right, getting to
their spots, it's kind of deflating. It's tough to win a game when
you only make two 3-pointers."
The Cavaliers led 28-24 after the first quarter and the Raptors led
52-49 at the intermission.
A pair of 3-pointers by Korver in the final minute of the third
quarter helped the Cavaliers take a 79-77 lead into the fourth
Korver opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. James bumped the
lead to nine points on two free throws with 8:56 to play.
When James hit two more free throws with 7:23 left, Cleveland led by
12. James hit a 3-pointer to improve the lead to 15, and he made two
more foul shots with 6:21 left to push the lead to 17. Thompson got
the lead to 19 points on a layup with 5:47 to play.
"The production from our bench has to come in and give us a boost,"
Casey said. "And, for whatever reason, couldn't get started. We had
to give DeMar and Jonas some kind of blow, and Cory."
Casey said the Raptors will be playing for pride on Sunday, not
wanting to be swept on their home court.
James said he will be thinking only of the game at hand, not
necessarily getting a sweep.
"For myself, I just focus on that game. I don't really think about
the sweep, I don't think of anything but how can I as leader of the
ballclub put our guys in a position to be successful."
NOTES: The Cavaliers went 10-0 to open the playoffs in 2016 and,
with their Game 3 win Friday, are 7-0 to open the playoffs this
season. The Minneapolis Lakers are the only other team to start the
postseason by going 7-0 in consecutive seasons. They opened the
playoffs with a 7-0 record in 1949 and did it again in 1950. ... The
last time Toronto lost three consecutive games was Feb. 8-14.
...Last season when the teams met in the Eastern Conference finals,
the Raptors won Game 3 and Game 4 at home after the Cavaliers won
the first two games in Cleveland. The Cavaliers went on to win the
series in six games.
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