With the way the Toronto Raptors came out and played Game 3, it’s hard to imagine this same team got blown out of Cleveland in the first two games. They played very well in the 99-84 win over the Cavs, with DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry playing at the levels everyone’s been waiting for.
Not to discredit any part of Toronto’s play, but the Cavaliers certainly didn’t help themselves on offense. By the end of the game, Cleveland shot just 35%, including 14/41 on threes — J.R. Smith alone was 6/15.
The first quarter was a strong premonition for the Cavs, who saw Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combine to shoot 0/9 from the field for just two points. Smith and LeBron James made up a bulk of the offense and had 19 of Cleveland’s 24 points in the quarter; Smith was the leader with 11 on 3/6 shooting, and James had eight on 4/6. DeRozan and Lowry led the Raptors to a 27-point quarter by netting 20 between them; DeRozan had 12 and Lowry had eight. Bismack Biyombo was an absolute animal on the backboards and swallowed up ten for Toronto.
Poor shooting by Cleveland yet again allowed the Raptors to stretch their lead even further after outscoring them in the second 33-23. DeRozan remained in the Raptors’ driver seat, leading them with nine points; Cory Joseph came off the bench and had seven points on 3/3 shooting with four rebounds. The Cavs’ field goal stayed under 40% again, and they saw nine points from Irving, eight from Channing Frye, and six from James to make up their 23. After erupting for 11 points the previous quarter, Smith was held scoreless and attempted just two shots. Toronto held a 13-point lead, 60-47, heading into the break.
The third quarter was quite painful to watch offensively, and both teams shot miserably. Cleveland still couldn’t find their stroke, and 14 of their 23 attempts in the quarter came from behind the arc — they made just five from deep. Smith and James made up a majority of the scoring yet again, combining for 17 of Cleveland’s 23 points. Although Toronto was just barely above 40% shooting, DeRozan still had a hot hand and recorded another ten-point quarter on 4/8 shooting from the field. The most shocking part about this was that the Cavaliers trailed by just ten entering the fourth, 80-70.
Once the last period came around, however, it imploded. Cleveland’s offense hit a wall worse than the previous quarters and finished with just 14 points on 31% shooting. The bench played a majority of the minutes in the fourth and Richard Jefferson finished with five of their points to lead them. For the Raptors, their shooting hit a wall as well, aside from Lowry and Biyombo. The duo combined for 13 of Toronto’s 19 points and shot 6/9 from the field — the rest of the team shot 20%.
DeRozan was the game’s leading scorer with 32, and Biyombo tied the record for the most rebounds in a playoff game since 1984 with 26. As mentioned earlier, Lowry was able to get a bit of his groove back and scored 20 on 7/13 shooting. For the Cavs, LeBron had 24 to lead their team in scoring, and he also led the team in rebounding (8) and assists (5).
Game 4 is Monday, May 23, at 8:30 PM EST in Toronto.