All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who has a left ankle sprain, considers himself doubtful for Sunday's Game 4 as the Toronto Raptors try to avoid a sweep against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lowry, who suffered a sprained left ankle in the second half of Game 2 Wednesday, was listed as questionable for the game Friday.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing in the East playoffs, they go for sweeps. And now Toronto is one loss away from elimination.
Lowry averaged 15.1 points in 38.7 minutes per game. Only Jonas Valanciunas had a better night shooting the ball, going 10-for-13 for 23 points.
It won't be easy against a team operating at peak efficiency led by a future Hall of Famer playing at his peak, but Raptors can't allow Cavs to have it all.
Good like he was in those three games in which the Cavs turned a 3-1 deficit to the Golden State Warriors into a 4-3 National Basketball Association championship win - most of it on the strength of James' game.
Even without Lowry, the Raptors trailed 79-77 to begin the fourth, but Cleveland pulled away as Toronto missed 10 of its first 11 field goal attempts to begin the final quarter.
The Cavs continued to double-team DeRozan, just as they did in the first two games.
"Kyle is our driving force, our point guard, our leader", DeRozan said.
This was going to be a monumental challenge for the Raptors. Delon Wright's basket less than a minute into the quarter was Toronto's only field goal for nearly six minutes. Suddenly, the Cavs were up 19 with James, Tristan Thompson, Deron Williams and Iman Shumpert assembling tight defense. The two Canadian musicians met on the court at halftime for a warm embrace. Toronto couldn't buy a three-point basket, going 2 of 18 on the night.
Lowry missed Thursday's practice at Biosteel Centre and was scheduled for an MRI later in the day, according to coach Dwane Casey.
"You work all year to go against the champ in a boxing match". I don't want to get anybody thrown out or suspended or anything like that, but yeah, you should be teed off or upset when somebody's using the word dominated, that you got dominated. You can see they had real chemistry with James and Thompson. That makes it harder to play through the injury.
When James left the floor with 3:27 remaining, the Cavs had outscored the Raptors 26-7 in the fourth, with 13 points from James.
James, who entered the league out of high school in 2003, has long since secured his status as a surefire Hall of Famer but the Cleveland Cavaliers forward still shifts into a higher gear come playoff time.
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.
This one is also LeBron-related with his roaming free safety defence making DeRozan timid to the point that he won't throw the pass he knows he should make in fear of LeBron just jumping the route and taking it the other way for two. A running layup by P.J. Tucker capped Toronto's 22-9 run and gave the Raptors a four-point lead.