LeBron James recorded 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 26-point deficit to stun the Indiana Pacers 119-114 on Thursday night in Game 3 of their opening-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
The Cavaliers were up by 18 points in the final quarter but relaxed and let the Pacers get to within four points in the final minute. The Cavs are finding their groove.
"We're right there, " James said.
"A lot of me, of course, being the leader of this team wants the last shot". "We know how good LeBron is going to be and how good Kyrie is going to be, but the other guys we have to be able to limit".
"We're right there of what we know we can become, and we'll figure it out", added James, who contributed 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Stephenson - signed to a three-year deal late in the regular season and a major reason in is in the postseason in the first place, with the Pacers going 6-1 after he was added to the team - had a plus/minus of minus-7 in five minutes in the third quarter when Cleveland took control of the game. IN extended the lead to 20 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Jeff Teague and Lance Stephenson, and then it was all Cavs. Cleveland is 12-0 when starting 2-0 in the postseason.
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.More news: USA says Iran could become another North Korea if left 'unchecked'
Deron Williams (five points), Channing Frye (13 points) and Kyle Korver (12 points) led the Cavs' reserves, and the trio played almost the entire fourth quarter with Irving and Love on the bench. "I expect us to play with that mindset", he said.
The Cavaliers got to within 77-62 early in the third quarter, but the Pacers quickly pushed their lead back to 20. "And that was big".
The Pacers regrouped, ripped off 13 straight points and were within 113-109 when George hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left. Altogether the Big Three had 89 of Cleveland's 117 points in the game.
Officials had shown "disrespect" to his team, Fizdale added. Smith wasn't happy the Cavs' medical staff kept him out of the game and vowed he'd be ready for Game 3 on Thursday night in Indianapolis.
"We make plays down the stretch to win a ball game and, in the post-season, that's all you can ask for". We withstood every run.
And this time, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irvin got a firsthand glimpse of James' mastery as they watched the entire fourth quarter from the bench. "We haven't won, but we can take some positives from the games we played". "We're playing for pride now". That's unacceptable, that was unprofessional. They are the first playoff team in history to erase a 25-point halftime deficit and win.
But fourth-quarter leads continue to be a problem for the National Basketball Association champions.More news: Man who killed NFL star Will Smith sentenced to 25 years
Tony Parker (15 points) and Danny Green (12) provided enough support for the brilliant Leonard.
"We have a chance to do something we all have been wanting to do all season, and that's to put together a four-quarter game".
Game 4 is Saturday back at the Bradley Center.
The Grizzlies pulled within 2-1 in this first-round Western Conference series, giving first-year coach David Fizdale his first postseason victory.
Milwaukee at Toronto, 6 p.m.
Tipoff is shortly after 7:00 p.m. ET on TNT.More news: Mourinho says no sense in Rashford playing for England Under-21s
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