TORONTO – On a night all-star point guard Kyle Lowry sat on the bench nursing a sprained ankle, DeMar DeRozan’s best playoff game of his career wasn’t enough.
DeRozan had a career playoff high 37 points, but the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away to beat the Toronto Raptors 115-94. And now Toronto is one loss away from elimination.
LeBron James scored 35 points to top the Cavaliers, who take a 3-0 lead into Sunday’s Game 4 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.
Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points for the Raptors, while Norman Powell chipped in with 13 and Serge Ibaka had 12.
The loss of Lowry was a huge blow to Toronto. The feisty point guard sprained his left ankle on Wednesday, joined his teammates for warmup, but was limping noticeably. He was listed as active but spent the night on the bench. Cory Joseph made his first playoff start in Lowry’s place, but finished with just four points.
The Raptors were happy to be home after being routed by a combined 33 points in Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland, buoyed by the fact they were in the same position last season. Toronto dropped two games in Cleveland in last year’s conference finals but bounced back with two wins at home.
© 2017 The Canadian Press