Cavaliers take 3-0 series lead over Raptors

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James led Cleveland with 16 first-half points.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) protects the ball from Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Toronto on Friday, May 5, 2017.

James posted his 90th playoff game with at least 30 points, scoring 35 to go with eight rebounds and seven assists in 40 minutes. The lead continued to stretch, as the Cavs locked down the Raptors on defense and the lead continued to grow, slowly ballooning from a 2 point lead to a game-high 23 point lead as the quarter progressed and quickly put the game out of reach for the Raptors. Through three quarters LeBron James was not the same LeBron James that owned the court in Cleveland through those first two games but he didn't need to be, not when the Raptors couldn't find any offence other than that which DeMar DeRozan produced.

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.

Powell, who left the game briefly in the first quarter after rolling his ankle, came back big - sticking to the much bigger and more experienced James and keeping him somewhat quiet, as well as rolling to the basket himself to score.

"That's what he's here for", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said of Korver. "We just couldn't get nothing to fall, and they turned it up offensively and ran away with it".

DeRozan had one point in the fourth quarter.

"He was going to try it, it was bothering him, he just couldn't go", coach Dwane Casey said. "There was no back down".

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The game began with a bit of bad news from a Raptors perspective when Kyle Lowry, who looked to have made a stunningly quick recovery from an ankle injury had his night end in the pre-game warm ups when he abruptly left the court and headed to the locker room. Cory Joseph made his first playoff start in Lowry's place, but finished with just four points. The feisty point guard sprained his left ankle on Wednesday, joined his teammates for warmup, but was limping noticeably.

"It's something we've done, we've knocked down threes all year and for some reason it's escaped us right now", Casey said.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love scored 16 points apiece. And when Brampton, Ont., native Tristan Thompson scored with 5:47 to play, it gave the Cavs a 99-80 lead, much to the dismay of the noisy, white-clad Air Canada Centre crowd that included Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip and rapper Drake. We knew we were coming into a hostile environment. "Those guys stepped up for us when we needed it". It's about going out and playing Cavaliers basketball.

As a team, the Cavaliers dominated on the rebounding front, holding a 49-25 advantage.

"They're a hell of a team", DeRozan said.

"It was definitely nice to get some shots and to knock them down", he said.

Smith fouled DeRozan in the first minute of the third quarter and remained in the game. But DeRozan eventually ran out of gas, scored just one point in the fourth quarter, and didn't get enough help.

The Atlanta Hawks' next general manager will have total authority of personnel decisions following moves on Friday which dismantled the two-tier management team of Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox. James hit 15-of-16 free throws.

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