George insists comments were intended to motivate Pacers


Cleveland, which is 12-0 lifetime when it holds a 2-0 lead in a playoff series, will take that advantage into Game 3 Thursday in Indiana.

James' final tally - 10 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, four blocks and eight turnovers, to go along with his 25 points - was his 89th double-double of his storied postseason career.

I'm not too anxious about the Cavs on paper, especially with how well the Big Three have been playing. In addition to James, Kyrie Irving had a game-high 37 points, while Kevin Love had 27 points and 11 rebounds.

OK fine, it wasn't all LeBron, as Kyle Korver went 4-5 from deep and Channing Frye scored 13. Smith was forced from Monday night's game against the Indiana Pacers with a left hamstring injury, but is hopeful of playing when the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series resumes on Thursday night.

Smith, who was to be further evaluated Monday night, didn't play in the second half, but the Cavs got some much-needed energy from Iman Shumpert.

"Shump was unbelievable", coach Tyronn Lue said.

A number of questionable shots and breakdowns on defense by Cleveland allowed IN to make a late charge but none of this seems to concern the player carrying the team's title hopes. "When it was his turn, he stepped up and played well". This is where the addition of Lance Stephenson by the Pacers could add some storylines.

Irving now has even more confidence that he can create for himself or a teammate at will, so the Pacers have to put more pressure on him and make his life more hard, or this series won't last long.

"We don't get the respect that these guys deserve because Mike Conley doesn't go insane, he has class and he just plays the game", Fizdale said. "My guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game - and they did not even give us a chance", Fizdale told journalists.

The Cavs, however, aren't there yet.

The Pacers led by a score of 74-49 at the halftime break and IN led by as many as 26 points IN the first half. But by the end of the quarter, behind LeBron's 13 third quarter points, the Cavs' deficit was down to seven.

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The competitive nature of the series comes as no shock to the IN players.

LeBron James, for instance, has not been silent about the personnel moves he thinks the Cavs should make and has never shied away from getting in teammates' faces on the court. Enter Games 1 and 2 against the Indiana Pacers.

"I thought we lost our composure and got frantic out there", McMillan said of his team's third-quarter meltdown. "We're not doing anything aggressively". They also blew a 26-point fourth quarter lead in a defeat to Atlanta earlier this month. Every point in the game we know we've got a chance to come back. The result showed up in the box score with James and Irving combining for less than half of the Cavaliers' assists in Game 2.

"Like Kyrie always says, 'Do your job, '" Love said. "They better start defending somebody". I know (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has) got pedigree and I'm a young rookie, but they are not going to rook us. There have also been a few occasions already where things could have escalated in regards to Stephenson and the Cavs; there was some jawing between him and Kyrie Irving near the end of the third quarter of Game 2 after Uncle Drew hit a walk-in 3 in front of him.

Signing George would not be without risks, though, as he would be the veteran on the Purple and Gold dealing with fresh-out-of-college players without his same basketball mind in an organization that has not made the playoffs since 2012. "He has to learn to just be in the moment".

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or and follow him @RickNoland on Twitter. Paul George lead the Pacers with 36 points. Totals 43-84 17-23 111.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Turner 3).

Saying George hates his teammates was an easy assumption following back-to-back games of criticism, but that doesn't mean it was the reality.

In fact, George, Miles, Stephenson and Turner were smiling and laughing throughout Wednesday's practice.

Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 3:30 first; team, 3:30 first.