• After a lopsided Game 1 and 2 in Cleveland, we had our closest game of the series up in the North… sort of. With the Cavaliers up 3-0 in the series, one can only assume that this is all but over. That being said, it’s not over until it’s over. The Raptors showed that they could stick around for the majority of the game, even without Kyle Lowry. The Raptors couldn’t hit a 3-point shot to save their lives, finishing 2-of-18 from beyond the arc. If they could get the same performance from DeMar DeRozan, have Lowry produce upon his return, and actually hit some 3-point shots, they could definitely extend the series. Anyways, on this Friday night of NBA action, Hoop-Ball has got you covered! The King takes over the North, while LaMarcus Aldridge comes alive for the Spurs! Playoff action is heating up so let’s hop right into Saturday’s Daily Dish! Also follow @HoopBallTweets for up to the minute updates or hit me up on Twitter (@NguyenTDanh) if you have any questions!

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    Cavaliers 115, Raptors 94

    Game 3 was close until the fourth quarter, when LeBron James took over the game. The King finished with 35 points (two treys), eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal, putting the Cavaliers in position to sweep the series and move onto the Eastern Conference Finals. Kevin Love dropped a double-double tonight, scoring 16 points with 13 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving chipped in 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. While these two had impressive numbers, it wasn’t really impactful when you were watching the game. LeBron actually went on a tear with the second unit, and that was what sucked the soul out of the Raptors and the Air Canada Center.

    Tristan Thompson continues to provide the grit and hustle for the Cavaliers, going for nine points and 12 rebounds. Kyle Korver was actually the one who turned the tides of the game, hitting three 3-pointers in a row at the beginning of the fourth, while finishing with 14 points (four treys) and three boards. The 3-point shot was the difference maker in this game, Cavaliers hitting 13-of-23 from deep, while the Raptors had a measly 2-of-18. LeBron and the Cavs are bringing the brooms for Sunday’s game and things aren’t looking too pretty in Toronto right now.

    This was by far the Raptors best defensive game of the series, but it was their offence that let them down in the fourth quarter. Kyle Lowry (ankle) didn’t see the floor in this game, despite being listed as active. DeMar DeRozan put the team on his back and had a huge bounce-back game, finishing with a playoff career-high of 37 points to go with two rebounds, three assists and three steals. You can’t ask much more from the guy and in order for the Raptors to stay alive in this series, he’ll need all the help he can get in Game 4.

    Jonas Valanciunas started off the game very well, but for some reason, didn’t get many touches until it was too little, too late. After a stretch of underwhelming performances, he’s starting to pick things up, posting an efficient 19 points (8-of-10) with eight rebounds tonight. Norman Powell left the game briefly after suffering an ankle injury, which may explain why he only finished with 13 points on 6-of-19 shooting. To be fair, he was still attacking the rim, so hopefully he’ll have a better outing in the next game. As for Serge Ibaka, he was relatively quiet, posting just 12 points and two blocks. With their backs against the wall, it’s time to go big or go home.

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    Spurs 103, Rockets 92

    Just when you thought the series will tilt back in the Rockets’ favor after Tony Parker went down with a season ending injury, the Spurs pull off a massive win in Houston. Kawhi Leonard once again took over the game, notching 26 points (two treys) with 10 rebounds, seven assists and one steal. He’s been unstoppable for the majority of the playoffs and has now led the Spurs to a 2-1 series lead over the Rockets. LaMarcus Aldridge finally showed up to the party and what an entrance he made. L.A. went off for 26 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks, and was a huge reason the Spurs came out on top in Game 3. He remains the X-Factor of this series and will certainly need to keep this up if they want to advance any further.

    Patty Mills managed to score an inefficient 15 points (4-of-14) to go with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He played 30 minutes in total and it’s clear that Gregg Popovich is going to rely heavily on him for the remainder of the playoffs. Pau Gasol had a solid performance tonight with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and this could be as good as it gets for the Spaniard in terms of production. Danny Green was also clutch down the stretch with some massive treys, finishing with 11 points (three treys) and two blocks. The Spurs have reclaimed homecourt advantage and look to carry on with this momentum.

    James Harden went bonkers with 43 points (five treys), two rebounds, five assists and three steals. His supporting cast just couldn’t get it rolling today, which explains his low assist total as well. The Beard has been struggling with his shot as of late, but if tonight was an indication of anything, he’ll be just fine. Clint Capela had a massive double-double, recording 12 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks. He was a clear factor on both ends of the floor and was actually giving the Spurs some problems in the paint. Trevor Ariza made it rain from beyond the arc with 17 points (five treys) to go with five rebounds, five assists and one steal. It’s no surprise he got hot from deep, but what’s surprising is how Ryan Anderson disappeared this game with just two points. Harden will need more from his teammates in order to tie this series back up on Sunday.

    That’ll do it for Saturday’s dish. Thank you to all the readers and subscribers! Cheers! #HoopBall #WeTheNorth

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