Irving scores 37, Cavs hold on to beat Pacers 117-111

19 April, 2017, 01:49 | Author: Douglas Reid

Cleveland is 12-0 when starting 2-0 in the postseason. Typically, Love will get the majority of his points early on and Irving and James will carry most of the weight later in games. It should have been a rout - the kind you'd expect of the 2-seed over the 7-seed - especially since IN came so close IN Game 1. If they see it as more of a knock than motivation, it'll be a different story.

The reason for the Cavs' low margin of victory in this one was actually not the free throws, but carelessness with the ball.

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

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston. If they take it with a grain of salt and play with fire, then George will have done his job to ignite his team that's down 2-0.

"You know they're going to go on runs", C.J. Miles said.

The series moves to IN for Game 3, which will be played Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.

A late surge from beyond the three-point arc staked the Cavaliers out a 32-29 lead over the Pacers after the first quarter of Game 2.

As much as anything, Lue wanted the Cavs to attack for four quarters and not fade in the final 12 minutes as they did in Game 1 and as they did twice late in the regular season.

The problem isn't that the Indiana Pacers don't know what they need to do when the Cleveland Cavaliers trap Paul George.

Power forward Thaddeus Young can't play 48 minutes. That's not a surprise, but it's a bit of a shame, since Pacers star Paul George has been tremendous. Kevin Love is the third double-digit scorer and Channing Frye is grabbing two rebounds.

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The Cavs have areas of concern, however.

The Cavs scored 21 points in the fourth period, going 7-of-18 from the field and 1-of-6 from 3-point range.

Westbrook had 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, but made just six of 23 shots and had nine turnovers.

Iman Shumpert's play on the defensive end once could be considered at that level, but he's dropped off this season to the point where he was benched for the first six quarters of the series.

Kawhi Leonard led the way with 37 points and 11 rebounds as the Spurs, who outscored Memphis 56-37 in the first half, cruised to their win. Through the first two contests, he's logged 19 minutes and has just four points.

Entering the third quarter, IN did not look like a team that was ready to compete.

Stephenson rejoined the Pacers in March, just a couple weeks before the start of the playoffs. 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.

While Shumpert did pester George at times and welcomed the challenge, even forcing a jump ball midway through the quarter that fired up the crowd, the Cavs' changing strategy against George was another key. If the Pacers want to be successful in this series, they cannot have the kind of performances that Turner had Monday.

For a bit of context, Cleveland is plus-12 in the first half and a remarkable plus-14 in the third, and that's why they've been able to stave off these furious comeback attempts. Then they put additional pressure on themselves by winning a record 73 games in the regular season.

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