Cavs fade, rally, lead series 2-0

Two of his three assists in the quarter led to three-pointers, and the Cavs, as a team, were shooting 60% from three-point line, nine-for-15 from deep. The Cleveland Cavaliers are not the same team when Love is not in the game. The Indiana Pacers had no answer for his post-ups deep in the paint and on the low block.

With a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, the Cavs locker room was upbeat. "I just don't settle for being not as great as I can be".

The Cavs vowed they would play better after their near-disaster in Game 1 and they mostly backed up their talk, delivering the kind of performance that was routine last season but rare in 2017.

The move almost sent an unbalanced Stephenson face-first into the floor at the free throw line.

The Pacers have been able to score 43 points off of 30 turnovers in the first 2 games combined while the Cavs have done little to cash in on their opportunities scoring just 27 points off of 27 in turnovers.

"If they let me play, I'll play", he said. "We take away some of these easy baskets we're giving up and these games might be a little different". Miles for taking and missing the final shot of the contest. "To go up 3-0, makes things a lot more hard for those guys".

Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Channing Frye all scored 13 points.

Leonard finished the game 9 for 14 from the field and was 19 for 19 on free throws.

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Cleveland's enigmatic shooting guard never even peeled off his warmups off in the series opener against in, exiled to coach Tyronn Lue's bench as a high-salaried cheerleader. He finished with 12.

The Pacers are going to need Stephenson to be at his very best if they want to beat Cleveland.

Lance Stephenson has energized the Pacers since his return, but sometimes he can do too much.

In its two games against Indiana, Cleveland has gotten worse, allowing 115.3 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs. In the opening quarter, they were outscored 37-27 and 37-22 in the second. While it is not known whether Smith will return for Game 3 Thursday night, if he is forced to miss time, guard Iman Shumpert will likely step into the starting lineup. 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.

And it didn't have to happen.

But if the Cavaliers are going to accomplish their only true goal - repeating as National Basketball Association champions - they are going to have to, at some point, start playing defense. Conversely, fans and media members are still looking for them to flip the switch and, personally, I don't think they're going to do that until they lose their first postseason game.

The Cavs will go for the series sweep in Game 4 which is on Sunday.

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