In fact, the total margin in those 3 games is just 12 points; and one of those was a double overtime thriller. After scoring 49 points in the first half, the Cavs scored 35 in each of the final two quarters. Jeff Teague (23 points, four assists); Thaddeus Young (16 points) and Lance Stephenson (13 points, four assists) also gave valiant efforts for the Pacers. Lance Stephenson had 13 points. Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 37 points. But once again, it was all about the big three for Cleveland.
As mentioned above, Cleveland was a well-oiled machine offensively.
Irving, who struggled with his shot all night, going 4-of-17 from the field and and 1-of-6 from beyond the arc, only played around eight minutes in the second half, as Lue opted to ride his bench. Nothing about the game plan changed, and it manifested itself.
While Irving hit the final shot of the quarter, the Cavaliers made a concerted effort to reestablish power forward Kevin 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. "I don't know what the hell LeBron James is talking about".
Perhaps the most welcome sign for the Cavs was how hungry Iman Shumpert looked.
J.R. Smith made one 3-pointer in the first half, and then missed the rest of the game due to a left hamstring injury. "I just want to help my teammates out, sacrifice my body". They shot 18 times and had 32 free throws.
George has been individually excellent in the series, which was always expected.
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It just got a lot harder.
The Cavaliers opened the second half on a 10-3 run en route to a 119-114 win. He hasn't been sidestepping anything. "That's what I take from it".
"He's got to learn to control himself and be in the moment", George said. George has a player option can opt out of in 2018, and in may need to consider its options ahead of losing him for nothing. They now lead the best-of-seven series 3-0. If they see it as more of a knock than motivation, it'll be a different story. The Cleveland Cavaliers are averaging 113 points on 54.5 percent shooting and allowing 109.5 points on 50.3 percent shooting. That can be demoralizing for a group that's scratching and clawing against the defending champions.
Blown big leads. Defensive breakdowns. That's a bad habit that needs to be fixed if they expect to go far.
For Pacers fans, hopefully enough of them got tickets before they hit the secondary market, as I imagine there will be plenty of maroon and yellow from Cleveland Cavaliers fans.
James also extended his streak of winning at least one road playoff game in 27 straight series, a mark that dates back to the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. "We're right there on turning the switch on what we really can become".