Cavaliers 1 win away from eastern finals

Cleveland's LeBron James shielding the ball away from Toronto's Norman Powell in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. The Cavaliers won 115-94 to take a 3-0 lead.
Cleveland's LeBron James shielding the ball away from Toronto's Norman Powell in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. The Cavaliers won 115-94 to take a 3-0 lead.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

James leads the charge with 35 points as Cleveland take advantage of Lowry's absence

TORONTO • It was a matter of too much LeBron James and no Kyle Lowry on Friday.

The result was a 115-94 victory for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Toronto Raptors and a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals for the defending National Basketball Association (NBA) champions.

The Cavs have a chance to complete a series sweep in Game Four today at the Air Canada Centre.

While James scored 35 points for the Cavs, Lowry did not play at all for the Raptors because of a sprained left ankle.

Playing without their All-Star point guard, Toronto gave the Cavaliers all they could handle for the first three quarters.

The Raptors led by three points at the end of the first half and trailed by only two points entering the fourth quarter before Cleveland took over.

While the Raptors were running out of gas, the Cavaliers went on a 20-3 run to take a 19-point lead.

"We couldn't get anything to fall for us and they turned it on offensively and ran away with it," said Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who had a career playoff-best of 37 points.

The Cavaliers outscored the Raptors 36-17 in the final quarter, with James scoring 13 of the points in fewer than nine minutes of playing time.

"When we're getting stops, we're a dangerous team," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "It was an all-round good game for us rebounding, offensively and defensively so we just have to keep that up."

Lowry, who suffered a sprained left ankle in the second half of Game Two on Wednesday, participated in the warm-up and was listed as active for the game, but Cory Joseph started in his place. Lowry remained on the bench for the whole game.

"He just couldn't go," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He was limping badly."

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

Tristan Thompson added nine points and 12 rebounds.

Jonas Valanciunas collected 19 points and eight rebounds for the Raptors, with Norman Powell chipping in with 13 points and Serge Ibaka scoring 12.

In Houston, forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored at will in the paint before the San Antonio Spurs turned a late barrage of three-pointers into a 103-92 victory over the Houston Rockets.

In Game Three of this Western Conference semi-final series, he had 26 points plus seven rebounds and four blocked shots as the Spurs grabbed a 2-1 series lead ahead of Game Four today.

James Harden scored a game-high 43 points, including 30 of the Rockets' 53 second-half points, but had just five assists as San Antonio effectively stifled his team-mates.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 07, 2017, with the headline 'Cavaliers 1 win away from eastern finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe