Cavs edge Pacers, take 2-0 series lead

Hazel Gray
April 21, 2017

Up 13 later in the quarter, Cleveland had chances to extend its lead to 18 or 20, but instead the Pacers made it a 79-70 game before Love took over. The Cavaliers won 117-111.

They'll try to get it done when the series shifts to Indianapolis for game three on Thursday night.

The Indiana Pacers head back to Indiana down two games to none to the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, and you'll hear all manners of cliches about how "their backs are against the wall" or "they're trying to claw their way back into the series".

IN shot 56.8 percent in the first half and the Pacers's non-starters outscored the Cavaliers's reserves 28-8.

NOTES: Cavs F LeBron James totaled 32 points and 13 assists in Game 1.

It was more of the same for the Cavaliers in game two of their playoff series with the Pacers.

The 74 first-half points are the Pacers's most this season, surpassing the 68 they scored in the first half on April 8 at Orlando. He also matched three other ex-Los Angeles Lakers - Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper and James Worthy - for most consecutive first-round wins.

"Whether it got called or not, I felt like I was setting a tone", Love said. The second-year center was a terror defensively, altering shots at the rim and clogging the lane.

Then the second half happened.

The Cleveland Cavaliers can take full control of this series with a victory here to take a 2-0 series lead.

A silver lining for the Pacers for Game 3: Cleveland had a losing record on the road this season (20-21).

However, the defending champions, following a pattern that began late in the regular season, almost gave away an 18-point lead in the fourth as the Pacers crawled within four in the final minute before Cleveland closed it out at the foul line. Two of his three assists in the quarter led to three-pointers, and the Cavs, as a team, were shooting 60% from three-point line, nine-for-15 from deep. I have to wonder if we'll notice when the Cavs turn it on, or if this is what they are satisfied with. Irving has become a star in the National Basketball Association by acting as LeBron James' wing man and at times providing the needed firepower. "We'll figure it out".

The Cavaliers were up by 18 points in the final quarter but relaxed and let the Pacers get to within four points in the final minute.

We're not sure which is better here - Myles Turner's explosive dunk or his father's reaction.

The Cavaliers overpowered the Pacers in the second half once (Kevin) Love and (Kyrie) Irving started scoring at will. Love (27 points, 11 rebounds) punished Lance Stephenson by scoring on him in the post or drawing fouls and converting at the free-throw line. Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, who flew to Washington State Wednesday in the wake of his sister's death last weekend, is expected to be in the lineup for Game 3.

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

This comeback began with a second straight devastating third-quarter punch from the Cavs. His Game 2 comments, if better left unsaid, were indisputable on the merits, as Stephenson's unpredictability clearly played a role in a circuitous journey that saw him play for five different teams between the end of the 2013-2014 season and his return to in in March.

"I thought we lost our composure and got frantic out there", McMillan said of his team's third-quarter meltdown. "And that was big". With four seconds left on the clock, Miles made a decision to shoot the ball instead of passing it back to George, but the shot did not go in, resulting for the Pacers to lose by one point.

Now, they're heading home in a hole they still believe they can climb from.

"We know what's at stake", CJ Miles said.

Iman Shumpert, who didn't play at all in Game 1, replaced Smith and scored five points.

"I just saw turnovers", Lue said. "We needed that spark".

IN had their fits with the all-star forward the whole night, but more so in the third quarter, as Love went on a 10-0 run by himself. "His body language has to improve". We know how good LeBron is going to be, we know how good Kyrie is going to be.

It might make the league seem a lot less competitive than it really is, but this year's NBA Finals will be a Cavs-Warriors matchup yet again. "We just need Shump to stay focused and understand the task at hand and I think he did a good job of that tonight".

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