Despite Smith's absence, the Cavaliers were able to outscore the Pacers by 13 points during the third quarter to take a 96-78 lead into the final period.
James affirmed he's playing with an elevated level of confidence even with the No. 2 seed Cavs in such a close series with the No. 7 Pacers, in which Cleveland has won by a total of seven points on its home court through the first two games.
As the Cavaliers' series with the Pacers shifts to IN for Games 3 and 4 and Cleveland up 2-0, James will look to up that record to 19-0. LeBron James finished with 25 points while Kevin Love had 27 points. The Cavs are finding their groove.
"We're right there, " James said.
"That's to put together a four quarter game and I think we're right on the cusp of doing that". Irving, Love and LeBron are averaging a combined 80.5 points, 18.0 rebounds, and 16.0 assists per game in the series. Al Jefferson is questionable for the Pacers with a sprained left ankle but could return tonight.
James added 10 rebounds and seven assists while winning his 19th straight game in the first round. The Pacers are looking to avoid the sweep, as they host the defending champions for Game 3 and 4 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana.
Paul George scored 32 for IN, which now has a steep hill to climb to get back IN the series. They still had some defensive mishaps, and offensive woes, but for most of the game, they showed signs of the Cavs of last season that peaked at the right time to eventually win the NBA Finals. I think the Cavaliers are a more risky team when Korver is involved, and it's worth wondering if more time with the starters will allow him to get loose. Come the third quarter though, this was about to be a game where Love would make his mark felt. "And that was big".
Inside the locker room, it appears everything was understood. "If they let me play, I'll play". He has played way too many minutes this season (and eventually that will catch up to him), and the set of role players this season just isn't the same as last year's championship team.
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French voters go to the polls on Sunday for the first round of their most unpredictable presidential election in living memory. Marine Le Pen's main rival on Sunday is Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate.
Saturday night, the the Indiana Pacers finally got to get their shaky at best regular season behind them and start the playoffs.
"One NBA person said to me, 'The Cavs don't have to beat the Golden State Warriors in April".
Smith was dealing with a tender left hamstring and was kept out of the lineup in the second half of the 117-111 game two victory on Monday. Just understanding the moment, what it entails and going forward.
Note: Glenn Robinson III played in his first game since March 26. He ultimately played nine, and contributed four points and two rebounds off the bench. During the fourth quarter of the last two games, IN has outscored Cleveland 57-38. There's no reason not to expect more double-teams and that's where George would like to see the big men flash and make themselves open.
After the Pacers fell apart against Cleveland in the third quarter, Paul George had this to say about his recently returned teammate.
The Cavs's defense during the regular season ranked 22nd out of 30 teams.
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