Cavs hang on to open 2-0 lead on Pacers

  • Cavs hang on to open 2-0 lead on Pacers

Cavs hang on to open 2-0 lead on Pacers

After two days off, the series resumes in Indianapolis on Thursday.

Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 37 points on the night. Thaddeus Young added 16 while Lance Stephenson registered 13. What's even more telling of their rotation problem is that the Big 3 combined for 89 of those 96 starter points. He also had some interesting words to direct at second-year big man Myles Turner.

As mentioned above, Cleveland was a well-oiled machine offensively. I was hoping it would go the right way.

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Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 37 points and really took charge in the second half, where he scored 25 of those. Stephenson was part of those teams that challenged the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. "I wanted that shot in that moment". He did his damage from the free-throw line on a flawless 12-for-12.

The other hitch for Cleveland was that starting guard J.R. Smith didn't play in the second half because of a left hamstring injury. And if the Cavs want to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy again, they need to somehow, someway, figure out how to improve their effort and execution defensively.

According to NBA.com's Impact Insights, in the 18.5 minutes he was guarding him, Shumpert allowed George to make only three shots on 10 attempts. That cushion was needed when the Pacers forged a strong comeback that ultimately came up short.

Things might get worse for the Pacers, however, thanks to George's postgame comments after both losses that can be seen by some as him throwing his teammates under the bus. He hasn't been sidestepping anything. Miles, who was 1-for-2 from the floor in the third, said the Pacers simply have to make plays down the stretch, and make some shots."We've got to take advantage of the spacing", Miles said.

This is also well represented by Kevin Love's explosion against Lance Stephenson in Game 2.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs in Game 2 to get the 2-0 lead over the Grizzlies heading into Game 3 and 4 in Memphis.

As for the critics, well, they fall into a different category.

James committed eight of the Cavs' 19 turnovers. The Spurs nearly blew a 26-point lead, but they were able to fend off the run by the Grizzlies that involved several shady calls by the officials. That's a bad habit that needs to be fixed if they expect to go far. "I thought they engaged first in everything".

The Pacers spend so much of their energy trying to catch up after their lackluster play for most of the game that by the time they were in striking distance of Cleveland the Pacers were exhausted. In the regular season, the Cavs relied largely on Irving and James, who averaged 63.9 percent of the team's assists, to create offense. "It's hard to win playoff games like that". The Pacers have their backs against the wall and face a must-win Game 3.

Cleveland came into the fourth quarter with an 18-point lead and saw the Pacers cut it all the way to four with 19.5 seconds remaining, reminiscent of the way IN was able to turn a 12-point deficit late IN the third quarter IN Game 1 to a two-point lead with 3:31 remaining IN the fourth Saturday.