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Smith to start for Cavs; Pacers make lineup change in Game 3

21 April 2017, 07:58 | Joan Schultz

Smith to start for Cavs; Pacers make lineup change in Game 3

Indiana Pacers Paul George shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers Iman Shumpert in the second half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Monday

Love has just never been what the Cavs had in mind when they traded for him.

James needed just two rebounds to pass Robert Parish (1,765 rebounds) for the eighth-most rebounds in playoff history.

The only score that matters is 2-0.

The Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a bout of fourth quarter jitters to take a grip of their National Basketball Association playoff series against the Indiana Pacers on Monday as San Antonio seized control of their duel with Memphis. IN erased a 10-point deficit with nine minutes left in Game 1, and then in Game 2 cut the Cavs' 18-point lead after three quarters to four with 19.5 seconds left on a George 3-pointer. Both times, the Pacers failed in the final minute.

Still, James came away encouraged.

That's the next step in the Cavs' process, finding a way to play a complete game. "Everybody knows we (Stephenson and I) have a strong relationship". "We'll figure it out".

Cleveland appeared to be coasting to victory after opening up an 18-point lead at the end of the third quarter at the Quicken Loans Arena.

LeBron had 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He did have eight of Cleveland's 19 turnovers, miscues that allowed the Pacers to hang around. IN will get another crack at the defending champs Thursday, when the Pacers play host to the Cavs in Game 3.

But Cleveland starting guard J.R. Smith may miss the game with a hamstring injury that kept him out of Game 2, possibly presenting an opportunity for IN superstar Paul George to exploit a defensive mismatch.

The Pacers fell 2-0 to the Miami Heat on Monday night, but Stephenson has been decent as that utility piece.

Or, when the Sixers are on the verge of the playoffs, if they feel they need a utility player, they could go out and get themselves one in free agency or at the trade deadline.

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Cleveland has won 11 straight first-round games since James returned to his hometown team. We've got your way to watch via live stream. "And that was big". "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. However Smith's replacement, Iman Shumpert, impressed from the bench with five points.

"It's our offense", Lue said following the 117-111 win.

Said coach Tyronn Lue after the game: "LeBron willed us home".

George was upset that the fiery Stephenson briefly lost his composure.

He complained that C.J. Miles should not have taken the final shot in the 109-108 Game 1 loss even though Miles had an open 14-footer. "He's got to learn to just be in the moment".

The Pacers were coasting through the first two quarters, taking a 74-49 lead into the locker room at halftime.

"We all know that Lance is an emotional guy".

"And we don't push the ball every single possession when we get a chance".

In February, George was rumored to be on the trading block and there have been constant questions since then about whether George would take a max deal to stay with the Pacers after next season or return to Los Angeles where he can try to help resurrect the Lakers' franchise. He's been out since March 26 with a sprained left ankle.

Put all this together, plus some poor defensive strategy when it comes to switching and some hot shooting from Love, and he's recorded 22 points per game on 68.8 percent shooting in his first two outings. The Cavs hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series heading to in for Game 3 on Thursday night. James also moved up to third on the playoff all-time scoring list and fourth on the playoff three-pointer list.

Many questioned whether the Cavaliers' sluggish end to the regular season was a foreboding sign of their ultimate fate in the postseason or if they could flip a switch in the playoffs-not unlike they did a year ago.



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