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Sore ankle keeps Raptors G Lowry out of starting lineup

Sore ankle keeps Raptors G Lowry out of starting lineup”

Cleveland won 10 straight to begin the playoffs a year ago, a streak that ended when Toronto beat the Cavs in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

That won't be easy against the Cavaliers, the first team since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1949 and 1950 to win their first seven playoff games in consecutive seasons.

Toronto did lead for a good chunk of the game, building a 52-49 halftime lead and led for most of the third quarter behind DeRozan's spectacular scoring.

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry sustained a sprained left ankle, was still in pain on Thursday and is questionable for Game 3 on Friday.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers in game one of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena.

3-Ball: The Cavs hit 13-of-23 three-point shots for 56.5 percent, led by Kyle Korver on 4-of-6 attempts.

DeRozan went without a field goal in a blowout loss to Milwaukee in the opening round, but bounced back with a vengeance, scoring 32 points in the series-clinching Game 6. Norman Powell made Toronto's first 3-pointer with 3:09 in the third quarter - the Raptors were 0-of-12 up to that point.

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Game 4 will be played Sunday afternoon in Toronto, with the home team looking down the barrel of elimination.

If Lowry can't play, Cory Joseph?likely would start in his place. They are 7-0 in these playoffs, 10-0 in the postseason dating back to the Finals last season. James scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Joseph believes the Raptors can improve significantly in terms of contesting Cleveland's outside shots, thereby making it more hard for them to connect.

In a display of just how comfortable the Cavs are feeling against the Raps, LeBron James took his time on a corner 3-pointer during Game 2, spinning the ball twice as he mulled his options against Serge Ibaka.

"I think we as a franchise need more firepower to get to the next level", Ressler said.

If DeRozan had gotten any significant help, the Raptors probably would've built a decent lead by the end of the third quarter, and perhaps they would've won it with the support of their home crowd down the stretch. They'd tried lineup changes, and before this one coach Dwane Casey implored his team to punch back at the defending champs, perhaps throwing a "a couple below the belt".

The Raptors went ice cold in the fourth, and Delon Wright's basket less than a minute into the quarter was Toronto's only field goal for a terrible six-minute stretch.

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Cleveland had clung to a 79-77 lead at the start of the fourth, but then pulled away as Toronto struggled to connect from the field. After going 9-16 (56.25 percent) from two point range in the first quarter, the Cavs only went 3-14 (21.4 percent) from that range in the second quarter.

The two teams play their Game 4 in Houston on Sunday night.

Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving finished with 16 points apiece while Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith combined for 18 points.

Not Good: The Cavs had a rare game with more turnovers than assists.

DeRozan sat down to begin the fourth with his coach believing he needed "a blow". James is strong as an ox, but numerous Raptors are big enough to foul him hard enough to avoid letting him sink a shot while being fouled.

The Raptors were miserable from the 3-point line, which is where, arguably, they lost this game.

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