LEBRON JAMES LED a second-half assault as the Cleveland Cavaliers set a playoff record by storming back from a 25-point half time deficit to defeat the Indiana Pacers 119-114.
James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists as the Cavaliers took a 3-0 lead in the best of seven Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Cavs were down by 25 points at half time, and as much as 26 behind at one point in the contest. They are the first playoff team in history to erase a 25-point half time deficit and win.
James passed Kobe Bryant for number three on the league’s career playoff scoring list and tied another NBA record by winning his 20th consecutive first-round game.Source: NBA Conference/YouTube
James delivered 28 second-half points as he took over the contest in the fourth quarter in front of a crowd of 18,100 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.
“They came out and jumped on us in the first half, but when we came into the locker room at half time, I told the guys, ‘Let’s just get a couple of stops and see what happens,’” James said.
“Then we took the ball right at them and got back in the game. We got some great play from our guys off the bench.”
The 26-point comeback ties for the third largest in league playoff history and is the largest since 2012, when the Los Angeles Clippers came back from a 27-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers 70-40 in the second half. Kevin Love, JR Smith, Kyrie Irving and Channing Frye each scored 13 points for Cleveland while Kyle Korver added 12.
Pacers forward Paul George scored 36 points, including 21 alone in the second quarter, but George couldn’t keep pace with James and the Cavs over the last two quarters.
In Memphis, guard Mike Conley scored 24 points and added eight assists as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the San Antonio Spurs 105-94 to get back into their series.
The Spurs lead 2-1, with their loss snapping a streak of 10 consecutive playoff wins over the Grizzlies.
Elsewhere, Khris Middleton scored 20 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19, and Milwaukee’s defence did the rest as the Bucks eased past the Toronto Raptors 104-77 to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round Eastern Conference series.
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