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Cavaliers own fourth quarter and the Raptors in 115-94 Game 3 win

By Joe Vardon • Updated May 5, 2017 at 10:40 PM

TORONTO — Make it 28 in a row for LeBron James.

That's how many consecutive playoff series in which the Cavaliers' superstar has won a road game, thanks to a 115-94 pasting of the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference semifinal.

And with it, the lights are all but out at the Air Canada Centre. The Cavs lead 3-0 and no team has ever dug out of such a hole in the NBA playoffs. Game 4 is at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Toronto.

James posted his 90th playoff game with at least 30 points, scoring 35 to go with eight rebounds and seven assists in 40 minutes. He passed Shaquille O'Neal (2,041 field goals) for third place in NBA postseason history for baskets.

James is averaging 36.3 points in this series. He shot 9-of-16 from the field and 15-of-16 from the line.

Contrary to the final score, this one was actually close for three quarters. Cleveland trailed at half and led just 79-77 after three. But when James dialed up a 3-pointer with 6:49 left in the game, the Cavs were ahead 95-80.

Good night.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love scored 16 points apiece. Neither played in the fourth quarter, as a lineup of James, Kyle Korver (more on him in a minute), Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams and Tristan Thompson suffocated a depleted Raptors bunch.

Yes, DeMar DeRozan recovered from his five-point game in Game 2 to score 37, but Toronto was without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who missed the game with a sprained right ankle.

Given the lopsided of nature of this series heading into play Friday, the Raptors were already running out of options. They'd tried lineup changes, and before this one coach Dwane Casey implored his team to punch back at the defending champs, perhaps throwing a "a couple below the belt."

If the Raptors swung at all, they didn't hit anything. They scored just three points through the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. When James left the floor with 3:27 remaining, the Cavs had outscored the Raptors 26-7 in the fourth, with 13 points from James.

The Cavs shot 11-of-14 in the fourth quarter to the Raptors' 7-of-23.

Korver posted his 2017 playoff high with 14 points, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Korver had scored nine points total in the first two games on nine shots.

The Raptors were miserable from the 3-point line, which is where, arguably, they lost this game. They shot 2-of-18 overall to the Cavs' 13-of-23 (a 33-point disparity). Norman Powell made Toronto's first 3-pointer with 3:09 in the third quarter -- the Raptors were 0-of-12 up to that point.

DeRozan was due for a big game, and shot 12-of-23 and 13-of-13 at the line. Historically he has always bounced back after laying an egg in a playoff game, and Game 3 was no different. He entered play averaging 32.7 points in playoff games that follow a game in which he was held under 10 points.

Lowry, who suffered the injury early in the third quarter of Game 2, tried to play Friday night. He warmed up at 4 p.m. -- three hours ahead of tip-off -- and again right before it, but didn't start. The Raptors said he was available, but when Delon Wright came off the bench for Cory Joseph (Lowry's replacement) late in the first quarter, it was clear Lowry wouldn't play.

This was the first time in seven postseason games that the Cavs held an opponent under 100 points.

With a win Sunday, the Cavs would sweep the Raptors and become the first team in NBA history to open the playoffs 8-0 in consecutive seasons.

Cleveland of course took down the Raptors in six games in last year's conference finals, which means the Cavs lost games 3 and 4. Overall, the Cavs have won 10 straight in the playoffs, dating back to last season's Finals.

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