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21 April 2017, 07:03 | Andy Ferguson
The Cavaliers won 117-111.
CLEVELAND - After another excruciating loss in which the Indiana Pacers almost came all the way back from a late double-digit deficit before succumbing to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Paul George had blunt criticism for more of his teammates.
The ClevelandCavaliers completed a comeback win for the ages against the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the opening round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Thursday night.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Mike Conley scored 24 points and handed out eight assists as Memphis snapped a 10-game postseason skid against San Antonio.
"Whether it got called or not, I felt like I was setting a tone", Love said.
While George lamented the Pacers' defensive efforts, the Cavs' Big 3 relished their role in creating this predicament for their opponent. The second-year center was a terror defensively, altering shots at the rim and clogging the lane. They shot 55 percent from the field and 42 percent from deep, and hit 20 of 23 free throws. It was also the most points a LeBron James team had ever given up in any playoff half. I have to wonder if we'll notice when the Cavs turn it on, or if this is what they are satisfied with.
"We're right there, " James said. "We'll figure it out". "We're really close to what we can become".
James, Love, and Irving all excelled as they put up 25, 27, and 37 respectively.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Memphis.
Paul George had 32 for the Pacers, who will play Game 3 in their homecourt. Coach Nate McMillan made a lineup change, inserting former Cavs player C.J. Miles into the starting rotation.
The Cavs vowed they would play better after their near-loss in Game 1 and they mostly backed up their talk, delivering the type of performance that was routine last season but rare in 2017. Regardless, the leader of the Island of Misfit Toys, Mr. Stephenson, had his hands full of one Kevin Love. "It's our offense. I think we get exhausted at times".
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Pacers forward Paul George scored 36 points, including 21 alone in the second quarter.
"We know what's at stake", CJ Miles said.
"We've got to hold back", Lue told reporters after getting handled at home by the Washington Wizards in late March. George has been spectacular, but it takes multiple players to come up big for a team to advance.
Iman Shumpert, who didn't play at all in Game 1, replaced Smith and scored five points.
"It's our offense", Lue said. He went hard on the refs and came up with two instant classic lines in "You wont rook us!" and "Take that for data!" "We needed that spark".
On Lance Stephenson: "He's gotta learn to control himself".
Down by 25 points coming out of the halftime break, the Cavaliers outpaced IN, 35-17, IN the third quarter.
Love also provided a spark on defense, sacrifcing his body to draw charges to give his team and the crowd a boost of energy. "We know how good LeBron is going to be and how good Kyrie is going to be, but the other guys we have to be able to limit". A lot of it is his heart and his competitiveness, that emotion comes out on him.
"When someone is scoring on you and you show frustration, they're going to keep going at you and I think that's what Paul was talking about", Stephenson said after calling George his brother. He had missed the last dozen games due to a left calf strain suffered in practice. He scored four in nine minutes. The previous National Basketball Association record for the largest halftime deficit overcome in a playoff game came in 1948 when Baltimore rallied from 21 points down to beat Philadelphia.
Still, George's sharp, direct complaints after the first two games caught some off guard. A moment of silence was observed for Robert Godwin Sr., the 73-year-old tragically killed Sunday in Cleveland by a suspect who shot him and posted the killing on Facebook. Lance Stephenson had 13 points.
The Pacers took the Cavaliers to double-overtime in Cleveland at the end of the regular season.
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