Cavs take 2-0 series lead

Rufina Vignone
Aprile 20, 2017

The Cleveland Cavaliers hold a 2-0 series lead over the Indiana Pacers, and after dropping 25 points and 10 rebounds in the team's win on Monday night, LeBron James has other thoughts in his head than just the playoff series he's involved with.

Having said all that, in National Basketball Association history, teams that go up 2-0 win the series 94% of the time. The series moves to IN for Game 3, which will be played Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.

This year it seems that George won't be able to overcome the Cleveland Cavaliers, not just because of James and the rest of the Big Three (Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love), but because of his inability to step up as the leader of the Pacers in crucial game-time situations.

"We're right there of what we know can become", James said. Kyrie Irving had a monster game with 37 points, two rebounds and two assists. Kevin Love contributed 27 points and 11 rebounds and was 12 of 12 from the foul line.

That hasn't been the case, and Paul George's superstar play has kept the Pacers in the series.

For Indiana, George led the way with 32 points while Jeff Teague weighed in with 23 points and Thaddeus Young 16.

Irving ended the period by draining a 3-pointer over Stephenson and the All-Star made sure Indiana's antagonizing guard knew about it, yapping in his direction long after the horn sounded.

The Pacers have struggled containing Love through two games as the Cleveland Cavaliers have jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

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

"I feel like I should have been at Coachella", James said, before adding when called out by his team-mates: "What?" It's our offence. I think we get exhausted at times. and we don't push the ball every single possession when we get a chance.

"And we don't push the ball every single possession when we get a chance". He did have eight of Cleveland's 19 turnovers, miscues that allowed the Pacers to hang around. Cleveland was dead last in transition defense this year, and it was easy to see why in Game 2 whenever the Pacers pushed the tempo. "But we're right there on turning the switch on what we really can become".

At this point, their #DefendTheLand slogan is nothing but false advertising, because there is just no defense played in Cleveland.

"We have so many pieces on this team, but everyone has to stay ready", Irving said of Shumpert's cameo. "And he had that mindset, came in and executed, and it's hard to come off the bench right after halftime. But he's just gotta channel that and put it towards making effort plays on the court and doing whatever he needs for us to succeed".

The series moves to Memphis for Game 3 tomorrow. It was also the first time in his career, regular season or playoffs, that he ever logged four steals and four blocks in the same game.

"It's huge because you see your brother sacrificing his body", James said of the charge Love drew on 6-10, 280-pound Kevin Seraphin.

Outside of Tristan Thompson, who is a good defensive player, and James, who can be when he's locked in and motivated to be (which, understandably, is not all the time in his 14th year in the National Basketball Association at age 32) Cleveland regularly plays no one who can honestly be considered better than an average defender. Earlier in the game Love had taken a forearm to the face, the result of George trying to use Love as a launch pad. He passed Mark Price for second place in the third quarter. In fact, that's exactly how the game started out. During the fourth quarter of the last two games, IN has outscored Cleveland 57-38.

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