Close call: Irving scores 37, Cavs hold on to beat Pacers


Maybe that spark will ignite a larger fire in the defending champions, who allowed a big lead in the fourth quarter to almost disappear again before finishing off the Pacers. League insiders reckon Anthony would gladly waive his no-trade clause for a possible move to Cleveland, where he can partner with good friend LeBron James.

But Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue sounded the warning about his team's high turnover count, which allowed the Pacers to re-enter the contest. As we see with the constant "LeBron is the General Manager!" stuff, it's hard to get praise when coaching James, but Lue deserves his fair share.

IN is in trouble, and we are seeing the end of Paul George in a Pacers uniform. We turned the ball over and it hurt us.

Irving scored 37 points on only 24 shots to flex his playoff muscles-again. "Just one game he didn't play, so in a big game like the other night he was ready to play and ready to go in a big playoff game". No team better defines the concept than that one, which rolled through the postseason on its way to a second straight title behind the combination of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, both of whom were at the peak of their powers as part of a devastating combination few teams in National Basketball Association history could match.

"She's doing unbelievable numbers", he said. "He understands he has to be better. Try to empower them, try to make them better, try to make them believe we can be great every night".

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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. After shooting 52% from the line in the first game of the series, it was a bit of a relief to see the Cavaliers shoot so well from the line.

The Cavaliers had led 32-29 after an attritional first quarter but began to pull away in the second with James to the fore.

James also brought his team back from certain defeat, helping the Cavaliers erase a three games to one deficit in the National Basketball Association finals against the Golden State Warriors.

On April 17, a sore hamstring forced Smith out of Game 2 at Quicken Loans Arena in the second quarter. As the series shifts to Indianapolis, can the Pacers get over the hump?

In his 12th postseason run in 14 seasons, James is averaging 28.5 points, 10.0 assists and 8.6 rebounds in 42.5 minutes, up from 26.4 points, 8.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds in 37.8 minutes during the regular season. A 19-point second half lead was cut to five with just over two minutes left to play.