Cleveland Cavaliers take 3-0 series lead over Toronto Raptors

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange  |  May 5, 2017 at 10:15 PM
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TORONTO -- LeBron James scored 35 points and added eight rebounds and seven assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Toronto Raptors 115-94 Friday night to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.

The Cavaliers can complete a sweep of the series in Game 4 on Sunday in Toronto.

The Raptors, playing without injured point guard Kyle Lowry, led by three points after the first half.

The Cavaliers took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter and took command of the game with an 18-3 run. James scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Lowry, who suffered a sprained left ankle in the second half of Game 2 Wednesday, was listed as questionable for Saturday's game. 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.

Kevin Love added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers, and Kyrie Irving also scored 16 while Kyle Korver had 14 points. Tristan Thompson added nine points and 12 rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 37 points while Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points and eight rebounds, with Norman Powell chipping in with 13 points and Serge Ibaka scoring 12.

The Cavaliers led 28-24 after the first quarter.

Cleveland led by as many as nine points in the second quarter before the Raptors tied it at 43 on a layup by Ibaka with 3:41 to play in the first half.

Irving's 3-pointer restored Cleveland's lead with 2:45 left in the half. The Raptors came back to take the lead when DeRozan made a free throw to complete a three-point play.

The Raptors led 52-49 at the intermission and were led by 21 points from DeRozan. James led Cleveland with 16 first-half points.

The Raptors took a five-point lead when DeRozan opened the third quarter with a pair of free throws. The Cavaliers tied the game at 60 on Love's 3-pointer with 7:13 to play in the third.

The Raptors went up by three again when DeRozan's free throw completed a three-point play.

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 quarter.

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 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.

NOTES: The Cavaliers went 10-0 to open the playoffs in 2016 and, with their Game 3 win, 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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