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Sore ankle keeps Raptors G Lowry out of starting lineup

07 May 2017

His 37.4 minutes per night pitted him behind only LeBron James in minutes per contest.

The Raptors face elimination in Sunday's Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinals against the Cavaliers. Toronto fell behind 30-18 in the first quarter but battled back in the second and third to within single digits before completely giving up in the fourth. They trailed by only two after three quarters before the Cavaliers blew open the game.

CLEVELAND (115): James 9-16 15-16 35, Love 6-9 3-4 16, Thompson 3-6 3-5 9, Irving 7-21 1-1 16, Smith 3-5 0-0 9, Frye 1-1 0-0 3, Derr.Williams 2-2 0-0 5, Dero.Williams 2-4 0-0 4, Korver 5-7 0-0 14, J.Jones 0-0 0-0 0, D.Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Shumpert 1-5 2-2 4.

Their playoff exit appears to be nearing as they have no answer for James, who scored 39 points in Game 2 on Wednesday to move past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into second place on the all-time playoff scoring list. He's been their only reliable shooter from beyond the arc, but he couldn't play due to an ankle injury. James had called for an off-the-glass alley oop in the first quarter — the FIRST quarter!

Heading into the 4th quarter down two, that's when it all hope ended for the Raptors. "There was no back down".

"It's unfortunate, obviously, when anyone goes out, especially one of our stars", said Cory Joseph, who started in Lowry's absence.

A sprained ankle kept the floor general out of Game 3's loss despite taking part in warm-ups.

"He was limping badly", Casey said.

Kevin Love added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers.

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"Tonight we competed extremely well".

LeBron James said he wasn't anxious about what happened previous year. "We knew they were going to give us their best shot. We didn't know whether it was going to take 36 minutes, or 40 minutes, but we knew if we just play our game and pay attention to our details, we would have an opportunity the win the game".

The Raptors missed their first 12 shots from 3-point range before Powell connected with 3:09 left in the third. You see them knocking down 3s left and right, getting to their spots, it's kind of deflating.

"It is a quick turnaround, early game on Sunday".

It was in the fourth that James finally started to look like the King James from the first two games, pouring in nine points in the first six minutes of the quarter as the Cavs started to pull away for good. The modern National Basketball Association is merciless on poor 3-point shooting squads, a statement which can be written in CAPS in the playoffs, where every team is strong. Ariza totaled 17 points but had two after the intermission.

He stayed true to form as he shot 12 of 23 from the field and 13 of 13 from the free-throw line. "It's about pride", Casey said. "Not just me, the whole team as well", he said. "But I am still confident with us going home".

The Cavaliers are the only team since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1949 and 1950 to win their first seven playoff games in consecutive seasons. The last time was February 8-14, before the acquisitions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, brought in via trade to improve the Raptors defense against the Cavs in the playoffs.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James reacts after stealing the ball next to Toronto Raptors forward PJ Tucker in the third quarter in Game 2 of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on May 3, 2017.