James scores 35, Cavs take 3-0 lead with 115-94 victory

James scores 35, Cavs take 3-0 lead with 115-94 victory

After being held to a playoff career-low five points Wednesday, DeRozan scored 37 points. It was a two-point game entering the fourth, even with Kyle Lowry sidelined.

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.

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

The 3-0 hole the Raptors find themselves in is the first since they were victims of a sweep two years ago in the first round in Washington.

Drake was courtside, so was Gord Downie. Despite going scoreless from 3-point range, Toronto led 52-49 at the half. There were early positives for Toronto, starting with lots of buckets from Ibaka and Valanciunas.

That's the question Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri will likely have to answer this off-season, with his club on the brink of elimination following Friday's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of their second-round series. And Powell was keeping James somewhat quiet. Cory Joseph started for Toronto.

LeBron James didn't score in the first 8 minutes of the game and sat out the last quarter as the game was already decided, but still managed to score 39 points, on just 14 shots, no less.

"Sunday's game is about pride", Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. That came midway through the third quarter and the Raps would get only one more the rest of the night. The Cavs lowered the boom in the fourth quarter as Korver nailed three straight 3-pointers and James lowered his head and started attacking.

The Cavs stretched their advantage to nine points, but the Raptors fought back and a finger roll from Ibaka tied the game three-and-a-half minutes before halftime.

Toronto lost Powell to a left ankle injury midway through the first quarter. Toronto would go a dismal 2-of-18 from distance on the night. But as great teams often do, the defending champs found a way and went on a 20-3 run to put the Toronto Raptors away, 115-94, for a commanding 3-0 series lead. He'd tally 35 points on this evening. "But most of all, it's the player". The Raptors couldn't hang with him off the floor.

"We just tried to do different coverages to try and wear him down", Lue said. The Raptors did what they could to keep the game ugly, but a LeBron-led team will run smooth eventually. Smith's foul problems allowed DeRozan to drive the lane unmolested on several occasions through three quarters. He said his team can't go with the rope-a-dope strategy against the champs; they've got try to hit them back, and throw a whole mix of punches in the process (including some "below the belt"). You see them knocking down 3s left and right, getting to their spots, it's kind of deflating. Toronto's defensive has been far too soft against The King. Toronto lost three in a row from February 8 to 14.

"Man you've got to give them credit".

"I'm probably doubtful, honestly", Lowry said, according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst.

"In addition to busting his butt on (defense) and trying to hit the boards for us, he was a big help tonight". However, the Raptors didn't get much help from their bench who combined for only 9 points.

"We were fighting", said Valanciunas.

"We were not giving up but they were better than us", Valanciunas said.

Casey was unusually optimistic considering his team was looking at this game as an important opportunity to play their way back into the series.

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