The North STEPS UP! Raps take first game at home
Just when things were at their darkest for Toronto, the Raptors came home and took care of buisness, taking Game 3 against Cleveland with authority 99-84.
DeMar DeRozan was a man possessed, attacking the rim for 32 points, while Bismack Biyombo declared himself Chairman of the Boards, pulling down a franchise record of 26 rebounds to go along with seven points and four blocks.
Defensively, the Raptors stifled LeBron James to 24 points while forcing him to carry the workload. Kevin Love was a non-factor with only three points, while Kyrie Irving was held to 13 points, shooting a dismal 3 for 19 from the field.
The defensive game plan worked out brilliantly for the Raps, refusing to let LeBron take over the game while subduing the other scoring options for the Cavs. Behind James, Cleveland’s next leading scorer was J.R. Smith with 22 points, and if you want to make somebody on the Cavs beat you, you want it to be the streaky Smith.
“We didn’t play our game and they made us pay for it,” James told the Associated Press. “We didn’t start the game as physical as we should have at the point of attack.”
Kyle Lowry also has a solid game with 20 points, and Corey Joseph had 14 including a buzzer-beater step back three ball to finish off the third quarter.
The most important factor for the Raptors didn’t appear on the scoresheet though, and that was the intensity and grit brought to the table at home.
Canadians Corey Joseph and Tristan Thompson both got hit with technicals after this skirmish at half court.
Bismack was ferocious in the paint, which was big after two games of watching LeBron cut through the key like it was soft butter, and made James pay for driving with solid fouls and tough contentions. The Cavs only added 20 points in the paint in Game 3, compared to 106 points in the key from the first two games.
Is Biyombo afraid of LeBron? "No I'm not & I will never be. I'm never afraid of human beings. I always joke with Kyle, I'm afraid of lions"
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 19, 2016
The Raps were also without Jonas Valanciunas, who remains a question mark for Game 4 with a sprained right ankle.
Outside of the ACC Jurassic Park was again rabid, with the Raptors energy turning the Park into a frenzy of ecstatic fans. NPH’s own Sydney Rey was there to take in the excitement with the craziest fans in the NBA.