Cleveland Cavaliers returned home for their NBA eastern conference Game 3 finals against the Toronto Raptors and they got 25 points from Kevin Love to trounce the Raptors 116-78 and take a vital 3-2 series lead,needing to win one game to qualify for the finals.
The Cavs made a point of getting Love the ball right away and he responded by making all four field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer late in the first quarter that pushed the Cavs to a 37-19 lead.Cleveland’s onslaught continued in the second quarter, and when James got free for an easy two-handed dunk, Cavs fans could relax and begin making TV viewing plans for Friday night.These looked more like the Cavaliers who opened the postseason with 10 straight wins, obliterated the Raptors by a combined 50 points in Games 1 and 2 and given a chance to beat whomever survived in the West.
LeBron James scored 23 points,eight assists and six rebounds in 31 minutes before checking out late in the third quarter with the Cavs up 37. He spent the fourth quarter resting on the bench while Cleveland’s reserves finished the romp.Kyrie Irving added 23 points and he, James and Love outscored the Raptors 43-34 in the first half. Cleveland has won its three games in the series by a combined 88 points.DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points and Kyle Lowry had 13 for the Raptors, who were overwhelmed from the start. Bismack Biyombo had just four rebounds after getting 40 the past two games. The only positive for Toronto was center Jonas Valanciunas, who returned after missing eight straight games with a sprained right ankle. He scored nine points in 18 minutes.
Cleveland held Toronto to just 34 points in the opening half while building a 31-point halftime lead — the largest in conference finals history. Since their expansion arrival in 1993, the Raptors had never been down by 30 points before in any game — regular or postseason — at halftime but they have rarely seen a defense like this either.The Cavs were all over the court, swarming and stifling DeRozan and Lowry, who combined for 67 points in Game 4.