James scores 35, Cavs take 3-0 lead with 115-94 victory

Let's not let go of the rope and not come out to prepare tomorrow because it will hurt all summer.

DeMar DeRozan made good on his promise to bounce back with a big game. And now the Toronto Raptors are one loss away from elimination. They headed into the locker-room at the break up 52-49.

Right now it feels like a letdown. That's what they did against the Cavs a year ago after being thoroughly outplayed in each of the series' first two games. Toronto scratched and clawed to a halftime lead, only to see it erased when Cleveland cranked up their three-point shooting and the Raptors could only clank theirs. There are demands for the head coach's job. P.J. Tucker provided some spark, but beating a immensely strong team like the Cavaliers needs everyone contributing.

Playing without their All-Star point guard, Toronto gave the Cavaliers all they could handle for the first three quarters.

LeBron James said he wasn't anxious about what happened a year ago.

The Raptors took the Cavs to six games in last season's conference finals.

Believe that or don't, but keep in mind the onus that was put on finishing in the top three in the Conference all season long for the sole objective of not having to face the Cavs any earlier than the third round.

"We can't allow that type of freedom, that type of comfort with him or any other player, to be able to spin the ball like that", Raptors guard Norm Powell said Friday morning after shootaround.

At some point in the future - probably - a Eastern Conference team will beat LeBron.

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And don't forget also that the LeBron the Raptors are seeing in this series is not your normal second-round LeBron.

The Cavs, then, appear to be tuning up for another Finals appearance in June, presumably in a third consecutive showdown with the Warriors. But in the next game following those five, DeRozan had averaged 32.7 points. The Raptors hope that he regains the scoring touch that was absent in Game 2. "That extra hop, step, you know, everything out there on the court, you look at the score sheet after the game he's still playing 42 minutes a game, whatever it is".

But all those missed shots, the punches of which Casey had spoke, loomed like something that would come back to haunt them.

"He wanted to. The doctors and trainers and medical people were just telling him he shouldn't try to go because he was in so much pain".

The season may not be over but the way it feels now only LeBron and company taking their foot off the gas will prolong it. Having won the opening two matches at home, Cleveland traveled north to the Canadian city on Friday night and recorded a 115-94 win. "I knew it was bothering him, but I didn't know till late, till they did starting lineups, that he wasn't gonna go". And while they, for the most part, did, it didn't matter in the end.

But to suggest a sound thrashing by a Cleveland Cavaliers team clicking on all cylinders and with a top-of-his-game LeBron James to turn to should alter that thinking in any way is just wrong.

He just sounds like he'd like to have the opportunity a year from now rather than present day.

Casey, the coach, said before Game 3 that Toronto should use some of that for fuel.

I think he'll be able to continue what he's doing for a long time. "So for us not to have him anything close to 100 per cent, it would be hard on us", DeRozan said.

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