2017 Playoffs: Round 2, Game 3 - Raptors 94, Cavs 115
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
DeMar DeRozan left the game with 3:27 remaining and the Cavaliers ahead by 21. After sticking with the Cavaliers through the first three quarters, Cleveland outscored Toronto 36-17 in the fourth to collect a 115-94 victory and take a 3-0 series lead. Game 4 will be in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.
STARTING FIVE SWITCH-UP
Shortly before game time the Raptors starting lineup was revealed and head coach Dwane Casey decided to switch things up. Like Toronto’s first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Casey decided to insert Norman Powell into the starting lineup in place of Jonas Valanciunas, but he also elected to make another adjustment, starting Patrick Patterson in place of DeMarre Carroll. Powell and Carroll joined Serge Ibaka, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
LOWRY ON THE SIDELINE
Although Kyle Lowry was in uniform for Game 3, he did not play. Lowry sustained a sprained ankle in the second half of Game 2 in Cleveland. Despite his best efforts, he wasn’t able to go on Friday night. After the game, Dwane Casey discussed Lowry’s attempt — and desire — to be on the floor with his teammates.
“He went out and was going to try it,” Casey said. “It was still bothering him. He was limping badly but he just couldn’t go. He wanted to, the trainers and Alex, the medical people were telling him you shouldn’t try to go because he was just, he was in so much pain and he just couldn’t go. He wanted to.”
With Lowry out of the lineup, the Raptors switched up their starting five up from Game 2 in Cleveland. Cory Joseph started in place of Lowry while Jonas Valanciunas was moved back into the starting lineup, joining Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell and DeMar DeRozan.
The Raptors got off to their best start of the series in Game 3, despite allowing the Cavaliers to shoot 53 percent from the floor in the first quarter. Though Toronto shot just 46 percent in comparison — and 0-for-6 from the 3-point line — they trailed the Cavaliers by just four points after the opening 12 minutes. The Raptors moved the ball well, assisting on seven of 11 field goals, with Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan each scoring eight points. Cleveland was led by Kevin Love’s 10 points, as the Cavs led 28-24 after the first 12 minutes.
FINDING A GROOVE
Toronto found its groove in the second quarter, hitting 55 percent if its field goals. In comparison, the Cavaliers went cold from the floor, shooting 32 percent as they were held to 21 points in the quarter. Cleveland made up for their shooting woes by connecting on 4-of-8 3-pointers while the Raptors continued to be scoreless from deep, going 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. The Cavaliers were led by 10 points from LeBron James, while DeMar DeRozan was brilliant for Toronto. DeRozan led the Raptors with 13 points on 4-for-6 field goals, making all five of his free throws and adding three steals as he helped the Raptors outscore Cleveland 28-21 in the quarter to hold a 52-49 halftime lead.
The Cavaliers came out of the halftime break hot, bouncing back from 32-percent shooting in the second quarter to make 52 percent of their shots in the third, while outscoring Toronto 30-25. While DeMar DeRozan had another fantastic effort in the third, again leading the Raptors with 15 points, the Raptors did not close the quarter well. After sticking with the Cavs through the back-and-forth quarter, Toronto gave up back-to-back 3-pointers from Kyle Korver to go into the fourth quarter trailing by two, 79-77.
FOURTH QUARTER LET DOWN
Things went downhill quickly for Toronto in the final quarter as the team tried to give DeMar DeRozan and Cory Joseph a quick breather for the first couple of minutes of the fourth. The Cavaliers quickly turned a two-point lead into a 19-point advantage as the Toronto offence went ice-cold. After holding the Cavaliers to 49 points in the first half, Toronto’s defence fell apart in the fourth as they gave up 36 points to Cleveland on a ridiculous 79 percent from the floor and 80 percent (4-for-5) from beyond the arc. Cleveland opened the fourth on a 20-3 run. In comparison, the fourth was a struggle all around for Toronto. The Raptors shot 30 percent from the floor as they were held to 17 points.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan was excellent in a losing decision, scoring a game-high 37 points in 41 minutes as he did all that he could to propel the Raptors to a victory. He shot 12-for-23 from the floor, 13-for-13 from the foul line and added two rebounds, three assists and three steals, without turning the ball over.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jonas Valanciunas had another strong effort after he was moved back into the starting lineup. In 33 minutes Valanciunas scored 19 points on 8-for-10 field goals to go with eight rebounds.
THAT'S A RAP...
“We got another opportunity. We can’t look at it like history of teams being down 3-0, whatever it may be, we have an opportunity to have another opportunity and that’s all that matters, and we gotta go out and play that way.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the approach heading into Sunday’s Game 4
BY THE #'S
51...51…Percent shooting for Cleveland, 44 percent shooting for Toronto.
13...made 3-pointers for the Cavaliers who shot 13-for-23 (57 percent) from beyond the arc. The Raptors connected on just 2-of-18 attempts from three, and opened the game 0-for-12 from deep before Norman Powell hit the team’s first 3-pointer in the third quarter. Through three games, Cleveland has made 45 3-pointers to 17 for Toronto.
49...Rebounds for the Cavaliers and just 25 for the Raptors. Toronto also was held to just one offensive rebound while Cleveland had eight.
16...Turnovers for the Cavaliers, leading to 11 points scored by the Raptors. Toronto was solid at taking care of the ball with just six turnovers leading to three points scored by Cleveland.
9...Points scored by Toronto’s bench compared to 29 points scored by Cleveland’s bench.
THEY SAID IT...
“Our bench has to come in and give us a boost and for whatever reason they couldn’t get started. We had to give DeMar, Jonas and Cory some kind of blow [in the fourth]. The three ball hurt us, knocking down open threes. I thought we did an excellent job of moving the basketball, finding the right person. It’s something we’ve done, knock down threes all year and for whatever reason it’s escaping us right now, but I liked our fight, I love the way our guys competed. There was no backdown. That stretch, right at the beginning of the fourth quarter is what got us.”
- Dwane Casey on the stretch to start the fourth quarter
“Yeah, we were fighting. We were fighting. It was up and down. We were fighting. Honestly, today, we were not giving up. But they were better than us today.”
- Jonas Valanciunas on leaving everything on the floor
“You gotta give ‘em credit. They’re a hell of a team. They’re in sync on both ends. It’s tough. We competed for, you know, 36 minutes tonight. And them 12 minutes, they took advantage of it, and they ran away with it. You gotta give ‘em credit. They are the champs for a reason.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the Cavaliers pulling away in the fourth quarter
Game 4 will be played on Sunday on the Air Canada Centre floor at 3:30 P.M. ET.