Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry will opt out of final year of contract

Rita Gibson | 19 May, 2017, 22:00

LeBron James scored 35 points with nine rebounds and six assists as the Cavaliers subdued the desperate Raptors to remain unbeaten in eight games in these playoffs.

"It's going to be my ninth time in 14 years", he said of making the conference final. "You want to win, obviously, but you want to go to a team where you can help push it to the next level". But the Cavaliers simply had too many weapons and did just enough down the stretch to hang on for the win and to move on to their third straight Eastern Conference Finals. It's going to be my ninth time in 14 years. "And whatever it takes to beat the best, that's what I've gotta do".

Tucker had plenty of good things to say about his latest run in Toronto, which began on National Basketball Association trade deadline day when the Raptors acquired him from Phoenix. Irving finished with 27 points on 10-of-24 shooting.

Now Toronto heads into an off-season of uncertainty, with questions not only about the future of Lowry, but coach Dwane Casey and free agents Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson. "When he's hitting the shot like that, they're very hard to beat", Casey said. It took them 20 years to win 50 games, something they've done in two straight seasons. I just like the team assist stat because generally getting assists means the team is moving the ball and creating quality shots.

But as they have done seemingly at will in this series, the Cavs went on a run. "I've said that three times already". "We know we could have played better in the first three games". Outside of last year's NBA Finals, James may have been better than we've seen him. "One thing about Case, Case is one hell of a person outside of a coach".

A 3 by Toronto's Fred Van Vleet cut it to 87-86 at 9:51 of the fourth, but James answered with a 3.

"We needed that spark", James said. But we knew once we got healthy we can go on runs like this, and get our rotations set, and lock in defensively and do some things defensively that we knew we're capable of doing. While his intention may have been to ultimately end up back in Toronto, this season's discouraging playoff sweep at the hands of the Cavs may change his calculus.

"We understand the percentages of coming back from 3-0, but we've dug that hole for ourselves", Casey before Sunday's game.

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Some think Toronto is better off if Lowry walks. But the media learned that Kyle would be sitting out Game 4 with a sprained ankle. He was not active Sunday.

"I didn't call or pressure him the first time, and he didn't do that to me", DeRozan said.

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Boston. Totals 40-85 12-15 102. Assistant Mike Brown took over as acting coach for Game 3 of the first-round series against Portland.

Blocked Shots: 5 (Irving, James, Korver, Shumpert, Smith). Porter had 18 points. DeRozan left the game briefly with 8:07 to play in the second quarter after he was inadvertently kicked in the midsection while guarding Iman Shumpert.

Percentages: FG.471, FT.800. The Raptors hit 10-of-29 for 34.5 percent, but the Cavs out scored the Raptors by 18 points from behind the arc.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Valanciunas 3).

It was DeRozan, Joseph, Ibaka, Valanciunas and Tucker, with good minutes for Powell all afternoon. Points After Turnovers: 17.

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