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May 30 2017, 07:18 | Van Peters
Then Lowry missed Friday's shootaround and declared himsef a game-time decision.
DeMar DeRozan delivered 37 points on 12 of 23 shooting, Jonas Valanciunas scored 19, Norman Powell added 13 points and Serge Ibaka chipped in with 12. "So, for us not to have him anything close to 100 percent, it would be hard on us". We said it all past year, said it in the offseason, and because of injuries, he didn't get much of a rhythm for the regular season. He was on the active list but only because it had to be submitted an hour before tipoff and the Raptors held out hope he would be able to play at that point. After a truly awful Game 2, DeMar found his groove once again, pouring in 36 points through three quarters to keep the Raptors in it.
Cory Joseph made the first playoff start of his National Basketball Association career in Lowry's place against the surging Cleveland Cavaliers, but managed just four points in Toronto's 115-94 loss.
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. But at this point, James' record of going 19-0 in playoff series with the Cavs and Miami Heat when his team has been up 2-0 seems a lock. The fans were all decked in white shirts printed with red maple leafs and they booed LeBron James each time he touched the ball.
LeBron James said he wasn't anxious about what happened past year.
DeRozan said his team's long-range struggles were made even more "deflating" because Cleveland connected 13 times on 23 attempts from beyond the arc.
"He had a minute and a half and he needed that", Casey said of the DeRozan absence before he returned to play. Kyle Lowry sat out with an injured ankle. In 24.7 minutes per game this series, Valanciunas is averaging 16 points. But three defeats in the Raptors inability to shoot threes means their season is likely to end early Sunday evening when they are swept out of the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers. "I think we stuck to our game plan for close to 48 minutes once again and we took another step forward". DeRozan rebounded from a brutal Game 2, but did so by hitting some tough shots.
"We know DeMar is a great player and our strategy in the last three years since I've been here is just take away what a team does best", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.
LeBron provided all the insight future opponents need in going up against him going into the series. I guarantee every team's thought process is: let's figure out a way to get past LeBron and you can play for a title.
"We couldn't get anything to fall for us and they turned it on offensively and ran away with it", said DeRozan.
"That's an issue", said Casey. "He's got to vault up and make his shots". We got to do a better job of that, especially on the road.
"As a unit we couldn't get it going consistently".
The Raptors were happy to be home after being routed by a combined 33 points in Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland, buoyed by the fact they were in the same position last season. "Not just me, the whole team as well", he said.
With nary a semblance of any offensive output without him on the floor, Dwane Casey put up the bat signal for DeRozan after just a two-minute rest.