Raptors: LeBron's behaviour disrespectful, but Toronto also playing "too soft"

The Cavs have won the first three games of a seven-game series eight times, and completed the sweep each time. The fatigue that settles in, as the Raptors wail and wail and wail away, and still see James striding forward, must be devastating.

The Cleveland Cavaliers eased to yet another win over the Toronto Raptors as the San Antonio Spurs edged ahead in their National Basketball Association playoff series. Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, center, drives to the basket between Toronto Raptors' Norman Powell, left, and Patrick Patterson during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff s.

Toronto fans moped to the exits early as their team was outscored 36-17 in the final stanza. Kyle Lowry is doubtful for Sunday's win-or-go-home game.

Without Lowry, it's hard to be optimistic about the Raptors chances of avoiding the sweep. For the majority of the series, Toronto's ball movement has been very bad. Joseph replaced Lowry in the starting lineup, and after a strong offensive showing in Game 2, Jonas Valanciunas was re-inserted into the starting lineup. "It wasn't easy", Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown said. Cleveland's biggest weakness is their lack of front court depth. And when Brampton, Ont., native Tristan Thompson scored with 5:47 to play, it gave the Cavs a 99-80 lead, much to the dismay of the noisy, white-clad crowd that included Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip and rapper Drake. Kevin Love is not a good defender.

They made the Raptors better.

Dwane Casey was asked how he prepares the team for a Game 4 when trailing 0-3 in the series. While the move certainly helped Valanciunas and the second unit, the tactics predictably failed. If Toronto wants to open up more space along the three-point line they need to have Valanciunas producing in the post.

Still, his absence would affect Toronto's game plan "a lot", Casey said.

Cavaliers forward LeBron James, right, shoots over Raptors forward Serge Ibaka during the second half of Game 3 of their second-round series Friday night in Toronto. James is going to score, it is a given fact. "[It] understands going into the fourth quarter it's an opportunity to put away, to do all the things that's needed for them to win".

A year ago, the Cavaliers beat the Raptors in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals and then lost the next two games in Toronto before taking Game 5 in Cleveland and Game 6 in Toronto to advance to the NBA Finals. At a certain point, whether it was when he bombed threes easily, or hit a left-handed push shot, or ran the break at lightning-fast speed, there is no answer. Somehow, they still out-rebounded the Raptors 49 to 25 anyway, and outshot them 51 percent to 43 (and 56 to 11 from three).

The Cavs had held DeRozan in check during the first two games, largely because of the defense of J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and James. "Honestly, today we were not giving up but they were better than us". Patterson and Carroll are shooting even lower percentages from the field.

After going down 2-0 in last season's ECF, the Raptors brought in Bismack Biyombo (who hadn't played much throughout the entire season) as a last-ditch effort to try and make that series competitive, and it worked out better than they ever could have hoped.

  • Julie Sanders