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

Frederick Owens
April 30, 2017

The Cleveland Cavaliers over-came a bout of fourth quarter jitters to take a grip of their National Basketball Association playoff series against the Indiana Pacers on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) as San Antonio seized control of their duel with Memphis.

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) goes for the dunk over Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) during the first half in game two of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena.

James added 10 rebounds and seven assists, but had eight of Cleveland's 19 turnovers.

They need to be better in Game 3 Thursday night, or their postseason run will be over nearly as quickly as it began.

Paul George scored 32 and Jeff Teague 23 for IN, which showed more fight, but now has a steep hill to climb to get back IN the series. The Pacers scored 19 points on the Cavs' 11 turnovers, and IN won the rebounding battle 41-34.

However, the defending champions, following a pattern that began late in the regular season, almost gave away an 18-point lead in the 4th as the Pacers crawled within 4 in the final minute before Cleveland closed it out.

Never mind the blown fourth-quarter leads.

"He understands he has to be better with the basketball in order for us to win", Lue said. "We haven't won, but we can take some positives from the games we played". Cleveland had just two assists in the two fourth quarters against in, the Cavs have been outscored, 57-38.Their offensive rating overall this postseason is 119.6, which is third best. That was evident Monday in Game 2 of the playoff series against the Cavs, when Stephenson was visibly upset a number of times on the court.

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Love's 10-0 spurt included six free throws, a layup and a tip-in and took the Cavs' lead to 89-70 with 2:02 left in the quarter.

The victory came at a cost for Cleveland however, with guard J.R. Smith limping off with a hamstring injury.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said the problem isn't the defense, but the offense.

This was the first time that LeBron, Love and Kyrie all had at least 25 points in the same playoff game since joining forces in advance of the 2015 season.

Leonard finished 9 for 14 from the field and was 19 for 19 on free throws. James had 17 points, five assists and five rebounds. Kyrie Irving had a monster game with 37 points, two rebounds and two assists.

After two days off, the series resumes in Indianapolis on Thursday. "I think we just have to do it ourselves".

It was an all-too familiar pattern for Cleveland, who had developed a habit of sacrificing fourth-quarter leads in the final stretch of the regular season - a habit they'll desperately want to shake.

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