LeBron says Cavs almost firing on all cylinders
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 19, 2017,
Apr 19, 2017, 17:54
April 17, 2017: The Cavaliers pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring in 33-20 in the period to open up an 18-point lead, then withstood the Pacers' late charge to come away with a 117-111 victory in Game 2 at Quicken Loans Arena.
George has played at an All-NBA level in the first two games of the series, averaging 30 points, six rebounds, and seven assists per game on 48% shooting, 55% from three. It's the first time in Cavs history that three players had at least 25 points in a playoff game, and though the Pacers clawed their way back to within four with under a minute left, the 117-111 final margin never felt like it was in serious jeopardy.
The best basketball player in the entire world isn't talking about how he managed to almost drop a triple-double against the Pacers, or breaking down how Paul George scored 32 points and almost led in to a win in Cleveland.
While point guard Kyrie Irving hit the final shot of the third quarter, the Cavaliers made a concerted effort to reestablish Love in the low post, and that plan worked well, as he scored 10 points and drew a handful of in fouls on both ends of the floor.
"Third quarter, we just lost our composure".
What started late in the regular season and kept Cleveland from securing the Eastern Conference's top seed has carried over into the first two games of their best-of-seven series against the Indiana Pacers.
"If they let me play, I'll play", he said. "If they are going to play small like that than Kevin should dominate". What have we learned so far?
Kyrie looked to extend the Cavs' lead in the third quarter by driving towards the net, per CBS Sports.
"We don't get the respect that these guys deserve because Mike Conley doesn't go insane, he has class and he just plays the game", Fizdale said.
Maybe George was thinking about the heartbreaking finish to Game 1 on Saturday, when, after the Pacers pulled within a point of the Cavs, C.J. Miles clanked a mid-range jumper and Cleveland escaped with a victory.
While George lamented the Pacers' defensive efforts, the Cavs' Big 3 relished their role in creating this predicament for their opponent.
The team has failed to get into their sets, often burning 8-10 seconds just standing at the top of the arc before moving into a simple 1-3 or 3-5 pick and roll. The reason for it was just trying to get control of Kyrie by putting [a] bigger defender on him. A lot of it is his heart and his competitiveness. "We're just doing a awful job of getting back and guarding people", Paul George said. "I think we just have to do it ourselves".
Ultimately, the Pacers reaction to George's post-game comments will dictate how the rest of this series goes. He finished with five points in 20 minutes, but his contributions went way beyond the box score.
The Cavaliers will take their talents to IN at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday for Game 3. IN is 0-9 when dropping the first two games in a series. In doing so, he collected his 361st playoff steal to pass Magic Johnson (358) for third place on the all-time playoff steals list, per NBA TV. "I wanted that shot in that moment".
They weren't the only ones: Fans gave him a standing ovation, which likely wasn't surprising at all to Stephenson who notably compared his comeback to that of Michael Jordan returning to basketball. "We're going to work with him".