Cavs devastate Pacers with record-setting comeback

The Cavaliers probably put an end to the Pacers first round hopes with a monster 26-point comeback in Indiana.

Brian Spurlock—X02835
Apr 20

INDIANAPOLIS — 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.Cleveland grabbed a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.James, who has won 20 consecutive first-round playoff games, scored 28 second-half points and completely dominated the fourth quarter. Channing Frye’s clutch 3-pointer with 54.8 seconds to play gave the Cavaliers a 114-107 lead.Cleveland outscored Indiana 70-40 in the second half. Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving and Frye each scored 13 points for the Cavs, and Kyle Korver added 12.Paul George scored 36 points, including 21 during a dominating second quarter, but Indiana could not stop James and Cleveland in the final 24 minutes.Jeff Teague added 15 for Indiana, and Lance Stephenson scored 13 for the Pacers. George also compiled 15 rebounds and nine assists.The 74 first-half points are the Pacers’ most this season, topping the 68 they scored during the first two quarters April 8 at Orlando. Indiana shot 56.8 percent during the opening half, including 10 of 17 from 3-point range.In addition to George’s 23 first-half points, Pacers’ non-starters outscored the Cavaliers’ reserves 28-8.The Pacers led by 10 after one quarter, then increased their lead to 50-36 with 5:54 remaining in the second quarter. A little more than a minute later, it was 59-40. Indiana finished the first 24 minutes with a 74-49 lead.James had 13 first-half points, and Irving added 10, but Cleveland was outrebounded 26-17 and shot only 36.7 percent in the first two quarters.The Cavaliers got to within 77-62 early in the third quarter, but the Pacers quickly pushed their lead back to 20. However, Cleveland outscored Indiana 35-17 in the period and was within 91-84 with 12 minutes to go. The Pacers made only 5 of 26 third-quarter field goal attempts, and George failed to score.Cleveland closed the gap to 96-91 with 9:24 remaining. A James basket cut the deficit to 98-96 with 7:16 to go.Despite George making only 1 of 5 field goal attempts, Indiana led 37-27 after the first 12 minutes, getting nine points from Kevin Seraphin and seven from Thaddeus Young. The Pacers shot 66.7 percent in the first quarter, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. George scored only two first-quarter points but had four assists.Elsewhere in the NBA For years, Zach Randolph dominated games for the Memphis Grizzlies as a starter. This season, first-year coach David Fizdale asked Randolph to embrace a sixth-man role.The veteran power forward did so, and with good results. However, after the Grizzlies lost the first two games of their first-round Western Conference playoff series to the San Antonio Spurs, Fizdale had a new assignment for Randolph: start Game 3 on Thursday night and try to change the game.”He was like a secret weapon tonight,” Memphis point guard Mike Conley said after Randolph scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Grizzlies’ 105-94 win over the Spurs at FedExForum.The Grizzlies snapped their streak of 10 consecutive postseason losses to the Spurs.Randolph had help from Conley, who contributed 24 points and eight assists, and center Marc Gasol, who finished with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists.”Z-Bo was fantastic,” Fizdale said, using Randolph’s nickname. [Winning] just matters so much to him.” The Spurs jump-started the Grizzlies’ second-half effort by committing two turnovers in the first minute.”Like we were out on a picnic someplace,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.Popovich was angry enough that after calling a timeout, he benched all five starters.”That’s the type of coach he is,” said Kawhi Leonard, who led the Spurs with 18 points. “He wants us to understand what’s going on and how important the opportunity is for us.”