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Cavaliers complete amazing come-back, defeat Pacers in Game 3

LeBron James, Paul George

Tonight’s Game 3 matchup between the Indiana Pacers and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers was nothing short of a slug-fest.

Despite five turnovers, the Cavs kept the score close through the majority of the first quarter. However, in the final two minutes of the opening frame, the Pacers opened up a ten point lead on the defending champs. After one quarter of play, Thaddeus Young’s seven points and Cleveland’s five turnovers had led the Pacers to a 37-27 advantage.

The Cavs just weren’t hitting their shots in the early phases of Thursday night’s game. At the start of the second quarter, they were 5-of-13 from beyond the three-point line, and their miscues continued to mount. At one point, the Pacers pushed their lead to 25 points. The raukus crowd inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse was quick to respond. The Cavs simply couldn’t get it going from outside (9-23 from beyond the arc at halftime), and the Pacers were (10-17). At the break, Paul George‘s 21 second-quarter points (career-high for points scored in a playoff game) propelled the Pacers to a 25 point advantage, 74-49.

Coming out of the locker room, the Cavs began cutting into Indiana’s big lead. At the midway point of the third quarter, a pair of three-pointers from LeBron James and Kevin Love pulled the Cavs to within 15 points. However, a big-time three from Pacers swingman Lance Stephenson in the closing minutes of the frame pushed the gap back to 20.

Slow and steady, the champs continued to press on. A couple of three’s from J.R Smith and Deron Williams, combined with an improved effort on the defensive end of the floor, brought the Cavs to within 10 points. To close the quarter, James pulled up from nearly 30 feet away to bury a three-pointer. On the very next possession, “The King,” as James is justly known, buried another three. All of a sudden, we had a seven point game, 91-84.

After outscoring the Pacers by 18 points in the third quarter, the Cavs began the final period of play with a similar come-back mentality. Kyle Korver sank one of his signature quick-release three’s in the early stages of the quarter, bringing the Cavs within five points of the lead. Shortly after that, Channing Frye trimmed the lead to two with three big foul shots. With seven minutes remaining in the game and a two-point deficit, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue called a timeout to rally his troops.

Would the Cavs have enough gas left in the tank to complete their come-back effort? A series of rim-rocking dunks from James gave sent a stern message that the Cavs indeed had enough energy left. James didn’t stop there — he isn’t called the greatest basketball player on Earth for nothing. Another big three from James gave the Cavs a four point advantage with under three minutes to play. Not to be outdone, Frye joined the three-point party in the closing seconds of the game, giving the defending champs a seven point lead.

After a series of trips to the charity stripe, the Cavs managed to hold off the Pacers for a 119-114 victory.

To put the greatness of this come-back in persoective, the Cavs held the Pacers to 40 second-half points after allowing 74 in the first.

James finished Thursday night’s bout with the 17th postseason triple-double performance of his career, en route to a game-high 41 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists, two steals, and one block in 45 minutes of playing time.

Game 4 will be a Sunday matinee game. Tip is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. right back inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse. As always, thank you for reading and be sure to keep your browsers locked on Cavs Nation for all of the latest Cavaliers updates as they become available.


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