CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers have officially put the Indiana Pacers’ back against the wall.
After putting them down 117-111 on Monday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, the team that forward LeBron James built is finally back on track.
“We’re right there,” said James, who came through in Game 2 with 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, according to the NBA. “We’re right there of what we know we can become, and we’ll figure it out.”
That’s not to say the Pacers are lying down.
In fact, in both games of the series thus far, Indiana has rallied in the fourth quarter.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue gave up insight as to why his team is giving the Pacers life in the waning moments of these contests.
“I’m not even going to say it’s our defense,” Lue said. “It’s our offense. I think we get tired at times. It’s playoffs, guys are playing a lot of minutes and they’re competing.
“And we don’t push the ball every single possession when we get a chance. But not so much the (isolation) because we have good players who can do that. It’s our turnovers. We’ve got to take care of the basketball.”
The game’s star was Cavs guard Kyrie Irving. Irving put up 37 points, including a career-playoff-best 25 in the second half.
The team’s other marquee name Kevin Love made it look easy with his double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds.
Where do we go from here? Game 3 shifts to Indianapolis on Thursday with history on the Cavaliers side.
The Cavs have never lost a postseason series in which they led 2-0.
However, at post time little was still known about the severity of J.R. Smith’s injured hamstring that was tweaked in Game 2.
Iman Shumpert is his understudy and Irving feels comfortable with him and the rest of his group.
“We have so many pieces on this team, but everyone has to stay ready,” Irving said. “And he had that mindset, came in and executed, and it’s hard to come off the bench right after halftime. We just need Shump to stay focused and understand the task at hand and I think he did a good job of that tonight.”
Shumpert took five points out of the bucket in Game 2 and will be counted on in some, way shape or form to produce on Thursday.
Watch: Cleveland Cavaliers Game 2 Highlights