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September 21 2017, 02:22 | Van Peters
Most of which coming in garbage time.
LeBron James scored 35 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Toronto Raptors 115-94 yesterday to take a 3-0 stranglehold lead in their second-round National Basketball Association playoff series. "He was in such a great groove, and for a scorer in our league we tried to make it tough on him the whole way, and see if we could weather the storm, and we did that in the fourth quarter".
Toronto was leading by 3 at halftime.
"For me, I don't dwell on the past", James said.
Meanwhile, coach Dwane Casey seemed to enter a fugue state when the Raptors offense turned frosty early in the decisive final 12 minutes.
"You don't want to get swept", he said. The Minneapolis Lakers are the only other team to start the postseason by going 7-0 in consecutive seasons.
"The production from our bench has to come in and give us a boost", Casey said.
LeBron James continued his brilliant playoffs with 35 points on 9-for-16 shooting, plus eight rebounds, seven assists and a steal. "For whatever reason, it's escaping us right now". Sometimes you gotta be a little more selfish, he said, alluding to the fact that Toronto shooters passed up more than a few open chances over the first couple of games. True to form, DeRozan had zero 3-point attempts as he plays a throwback in-between game.
Toronto Raptors star point guard Kyle Lowry said he'll be a game-time decision for Friday night's playoff matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The game began with some bad news from a Raptors' perspective when Lowry, who looked to have made a stunningly quick recovery from a Game 2 ankle injury, had his night end in the pre-game warmups when he abruptly left the court and headed back to the locker room.
"He was limping badly", Casey said. "He was in so much pain he just couldn't go". "He wanted to. The doctors and trainers and medical people were just telling him he shouldn't try to go because he was in so much pain".
With the Raptors looking like they are folding here, this may be one of the last memories we have of this team as constructed - falling apart in the 4th quarter due to an injured Lowry, poor shooting, and odd substitution patterns, in spite of good performances from DeRozan and Valanciunas. For the game, Houston shot just 36 percent and hit 12-of-39 3-pointers. "He's a Hall of Famer one day, but I think guys just came out with a sense of urgency and just played hard", Aldridge said. They can bid adieu to the Raptors by taking Sunday's Game 4.
Thompson had 12 rebounds.
James also tallied eight rebounds and seven assists as Cleveland will seek to clinch the series with a win in game four on Sunday in Toronto.
J.R. Smith had a solid shooting night, going 3-of-5 from long-range, but he was limited to just 17 minutes of action after getting in foul trouble trying to stick with an extra-aggressive DeMar DeRozan.
The Raptors have lost three straight for the first time since the All-Star break. The last time was February 8-14, before the acquisitions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, brought in via trade to improve the Raptors defense against the Cavs in the playoffs. James bumped the lead to nine points on two free throws with 8:56 to play. He totalled 37 points on 23 shots in 40 minutes, without turning the ball over once. Cleveland went on a 17-1 run at the start of the fourth quarter to build their first double-digit lead of the game, and never looked back.
As a team, the Cavaliers dominated on the rebounding front, holding a 49-25 advantage. LeBron James was 15-of-16 to lead the way. Toronto couldn't buy a three-point basket, going 2 of 18 on the night.
Percentages: FG.513, FT.857. He shot 2-for-12, including 0-for-4 from three point range. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love had 16 apiece for Cleveland.
Patrick Patterson has made exactly two field goals (2-of-10) this series and is 2-of-7 from behind the arc.
Then to start the 4th, the Raptors sent out a very odd lineup of Wright, Powell, Tucker, Patterson and Ibaka.
Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 7:23 first; team, 7:23 first.