Cavs edge Pacers, take 2-0 series lead

No team in National Basketball Association playoff history had ever blown that big of a halftime lead.

But not for LeBron James, who added another chapter to his legend Thursday night, contributing 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, helping the reigning National Basketball Association champion Cleveland Cavaliers rally from a 26-point deficit to stun the Indiana Pacers 119-114 in Game 3 of their opening-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

Cleveland wound up winning by a final score of 119-114, taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

Down 74-49 at halftime, it looked like the Cleveland Cavaliers were destined to lose Game 3 of their opening round series against the Indiana Pacers.

"We're right there", said Cleveland forward LeBron James, who was strong again in Game 2 with 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. It was James' 17th triple-double of his playoff career.

Monday's victory in Game 2 was the Cavs' 9th consecutive home win over the Pacers including regular and postseason.

Paul George officially hates his teammates.

Jeff Teague added 15 for IN, and Lance Stephenson scored 13 for the Pacers.

James has faced criticism for his non-stellar free throw shooting because it hampers him in the final moments of games.

Shumpert picked up a foul guarding George in his first 30 seconds on the floor before knocking down a 3-pointer from the corner, forcing in coach Nate McMillan to call time.

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"I thought we lost our composure and got frantic out there", McMillan said of his team's third-quarter meltdown.

"We played a great first half, but then they really got aggressive in the second half. We're gonna move on and come out ready to play". He did have eight of Cleveland's 19 turnovers.

George spent most of his postgame press conference detailing all the things his team is doing wrong in the series-"We're just doing a bad job of getting back and guarding people"-and calling out specific teammates". The Pacers played ideal basketball in the first half and then they couldn't buy a basket in the second once LeBron and the Cavs started honing in on their personal matchups. Iman Shumpert, who sat out the opener, replaced Smith and played 20 solid minutes.

"He had that mindset, came in and executed, and it's hard to come off the bench right after halftime. We just need Shump to stay focused and understand the task at hand and I think he did a good job of that tonight". After two free throws from Pacers center Kevin Seraphin made it 89-81, with thirty seconds left in the first half, LeBron calmly dribbled the ball up the court, came off a pick from Channing Frye, took one dribble to the left wing, and stopped and drained a 27-foot three-pointer to make it 89-84.

Now up 3-0 in the series, LeBron and the Cavs will look to take care of business in Game 4 on Sunday in the hopes of earning an extended period of rest before the second round. "You gotta be willing to sacrifice and it lay it on the line to win a game and that's what he did for us".

The Cavaliers got to within 77-62 early in the third quarter, but the Pacers quickly pushed their lead back to 20. Even when we're down big. "We're playing for pride now".

ANALYSIS: After the Cavaliers' epic comeback, I got some instant analysis from WKYC Channel 3 Sports Director Jim Donovan on Facebook Live. He finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Only Jerry West (14) and Michael Jordan (15) had more. He passed Mark Price for second place in the third quarter. Cleveland has won six straight over Indian. Lance Stephenson annoyed people.

In Game 1, Irving scored twenty-three points.

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