James scores 35, Cavs take 3-0 lead with 115-94 victory
11:27, May 15, 2017
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Cleveland won 10 straight to begin the playoffs a year ago, a streak that ended when Toronto beat the Cavs in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
"That's an issue", said Casey. "We had different expectations, each and every game, each and every game's been different".
"In addition to busting his butt on (defense) and trying to hit the boards for us, he was a big help tonight". "They're a hell of a team", said DeRozan, who said he thought he could have kept playing without that rest at the start of the fourth. "Especially playing without Kyle". Norman Powell made Toronto's first 3-pointer with 3:09 in the third quarter - the Raptors were 0-of-12 up to that point.
The loss of Lowry was a huge blow to Toronto. While he did not classify it as a "high ankle sprain", Lowry said it's high on his ankle.
DeRozan didn't know he'd be missing his backcourt mate until right before team introductions. I think it's safe to say DeRozan more than made up for this lackluster start to this series in this game.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue had a simple answer when asked after Game 2 why his team is so much more focused in the playoffs than it was for most of 2017 in the regular season. "He wanted to. The medical people said he shouldn't try to go". "He just couldn't go". The Cleveland Cavaliers are allowing 38 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 40.8 rebounds per game.
Toronto was forced to play without their all-star point guard Kyle Lowry. Kyle Korver came off the bench to score 14, with four of his baskets coming from long range, while Tristan Thompson reached double figures on the glass with 12 for the evening.
DeRozan truly proved his worth when he was on the bench to start the fourth. The Hawks' next general manager will have total authority of personnel decisions after moves that dismantled the two-tier management team of Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox.
Casey, though, is confident his team can go home and even the series. They did the same thing in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals, registering all four of their wins against Toronto by at least 19 points. The two Canadian musicians met on the court at halftime for a warm embrace. Cleveland used a late 17-1 surge to put this game out of reach and put Toronto on the brink of elimination. But that is what I reminded the guys. The mentality is, you're down 0-3.
"Man you've got to give them credit".
Irving's 3-pointer restored Cleveland's lead with 2:45 left in the half. By the end of the contest, Cleveland had outscored Toronto 36-17 in the final 12 minutes, shooting 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) from the field during the quarter. Lowry is averaging 15.8 points and 5.9 assists in eight games so far this postseason.
"We came in here (last year) and weren't prepared", Kyrie Irving said. "That's what great players do, they bounce back. So for us not to have him anything close to 100 per cent, it would be hard on us", DeRozan said.
James, who's been piling up highlight-reel plays in this series, was up to his antics again. The offense hasn't been stopped as Cleveland has reeled off 116, 125 and 115 points in the first three wins, respectively.
With a win Sunday, the Cavs would sweep the Raptors and become the first team in National Basketball Association history to open the playoffs 8-0 in consecutive seasons. They headed into the locker-room at the break up 52-49. The Cavaliers are 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings in Toronto, 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings and the over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
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