LeBron dominates for 41-13-12, Cavs rally for epic comeback to take 3-0 lead

April 21, 2017 - 11:32 AM
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after a dunk in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers in game one of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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.

NOTES: Cleveland G J.R. Smith was listed as questionable with a left hamstring injury but was in the starting lineup. … Indiana made a Game 3 starting lineup change, inserting G C.J. Miles in place of G Monta Ellis. Miles scored nine points. … Cleveland is 9-2 in its past 11 games in Indiana, including 3-1 regular-season records in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. … This is only the second time the Cavaliers and Pacers have met in the playoffs. Indiana won a 1998 series 3-1. … The Pacers got 19 first-quarter points from non-starters on 7 of 8 field-goal shooting.