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Cleveland Cavaliers throttle Toronto Raptors, grab 3-2 series lead

By
The Sports Xchange

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James had 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Kevin Love returned to form with 25 points as the Cavaliers dismantled the Toronto Raptors in a 116-78 win Wednesday that gives Cleveland an emphatic 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points in the Cavaliers' most lopsided playoff win in franchise history -- surpassing their 31-point victory at home in Game 1 of this series.

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The Cavs have outscored the Raptors by 88 points in their three home games. Cleveland can close out Toronto and return to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year with a win Friday in Game 6 at Air Canada Centre.

The game was effectively over after the first quarter, when the Cavs' 37 points were the most they've scored in any quarter in this series. The Raptors trailed by 18 after one period, and they didn't surpass 37 points until the first two minutes of the third quarter.

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Toronto didn't surpass the Cleveland Big Three's total of 71 points until the game's last few minutes -- and all three stars sat the entire fourth quarter. The Raptors' 65-34 halftime deficit was the first time in franchise history they trailed by at least 30 points in any game, regular season or postseason.

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Kyle Lowry had 13 points and six assists, and DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points for the Raptors after they totaled 67 points in Toronto's Game 4 win at home. The backcourt partners shot a combined 7-for-20 in Game 5.

Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas appeared for the first time in this series after battling a sprained ankle, and he scored nine points in 19 minutes. Bismack Biyombo had seven points and four rebounds after dominating the paint during the Raptors' two wins in Toronto.

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This time, however, the Cavs displayed the type of dominance they flashed in winning 10 straight to open the postseason. The biggest key to the turnaround was Love, who struggled miserably during the two losses at Toronto and compounded matters by twisting his knee during the third quarter of Game 4.

Love made his first six shots Wednesday and finished the night 8-for-10 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from the 3-point arc. He shot 5-for-23 during the two losses at Toronto.

NOTES: This is the 13th time in Cleveland F LeBron James' career he entered a Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. He was 6-6 in the previous 12. ... After averaging 19 3-pointers per game and shooting better than 50 percent from beyond the arc in the conference semifinals, the Cavaliers entered Game 5 shooting 33 percent and averaging 10.3 3-pointers in the conference finals. They were 10-for-21 from long distance Wednesday. ... The Raptors have played a game every other day in May. "We're used to going game, day off, game, day off," coach Dwane Casey said. "Our rhythm has been there because we've done it for almost a month now. That has helped." ... Toronto C Jonas Valanciunas was cleared to play in Game 4, but he did not play in part because Bismack Biyombo performed so well in his absence.

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