Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Cavaliers Down Pacers, NBA Playoffs

"He did a hell of a job on the defensive end, came in and made a big shot for us", Smith said.

LeBron James was beyond human during the series, Kyrie Irving hit big shot after big shot, and the Golden State Warriors did their thing, spreading the wealth and proving they were one of the best teams of all time.

Cleveland appeared to be coasting to victory after opening up an 18-point lead at the end of the third quarter at the Quicken Loans Arena. Game three is on Friday morning (AEST).

For the first time in Cavaliers postseason history, three players scored 25 or more points (Irving - 37, Love - 27, James - 25).

In the first six quarters of the series, Shumpert was offering encouragement to his teammates from the sidelines, trying to stay as engaged and mentally prepared as possible.

"We're right there of what we know we can become", James said.

But the Cavs put the home fans through the ringer in a nervy finale as the Pacers punished a litany of mistakes to cut the gap to four points with 18 seconds remaining. "But we're right there on turning the switch on what we really can become".

The biggest area where IN had the advantage was on turnovers, 14 to the Cavs' 19.

The series now shifts to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4 with Game 3 on Thursday night.

Paul George scored 32 on 10 of 20 shooting, Jeff Teague went 8 for 12 and wound up with 23 points, while Thaddeus Young scored 16, making 7 of 11 field goal attempts.

Twenty-one bench points. That was all the 10-man reserve squad of Cleveland could muster after the starters combined for 96.

Teague injured his right wrist in the second half and coach Nate McMillan said the starting guard will undergo X-rays. The Pacers, a middling offensive team during the regular season (15th in offensive rating), have shot at or over 50 percent while easily eclipsing 100 points in both Games 1 and 2.

There is a significant difference in reputation between the two teams, as the Cleveland Cavaliers are generally seen as the league's powerhouse and the Indiana Pacers barely made the playoffs, but the second and the seventh seed were separated by only 10 wins.

Irving ended the period by draining a 3-pointer over Stephenson and the All-Star made sure Indiana's antagonizing guard knew about it, yapping in his direction long after the horn sounded. "We lost our poise and weren't calm during that third quarter. And that was big".

"We have a chance to do something that we've all been wanting to do all season", James said. They go at matchups and do a good job of recognizing matchups and taking advantage of that matchup. "When we turn the basketball over, we can't get back".

The Warriors were confident they would repeat when they took a 3-1 Finals lead back to Oakland for Game 5. It marked the 3rd time in his playoff career that Love tallied at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in a postseason game.

"This team has character, besides the talent and the desire to win", Spurs center Pau Gasol said. That's these easy threes and these easy uncontested layups that we're giving up.

Fizdale complained bitterly that officials had unfairly skewed the free throw count against his players. And even Game 1 didn't dampen the Pacers heat - they nearly stole the first one at Cleveland. "It's our offense. I think we get exhausted at times". That's unacceptable, that was unprofessional.

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