Close call: Irving scores 37, Cavs hold on to beat Pacers
Janice Sanchez | April 19, 2017, 1:17
Third-seeded Toronto was overwhelmed by Giannis Antetokounmpo's 28 points and blown out 97-83 by Milwaukee, while the No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers were edged 97-95 by Utah on Joe Johnson's basket as time expired. For all of the doubts about the Cavs defensively, they still are capable of putting up an offensive barrage that really only one team - the Warriors - can truly match in a head-to-head battle.
"It's huge because you see your brother sacrificing his body", James said of the charge Love drew on 6-10, 280-pound Kevin Seraphin. The NBA Playoff Odds for the game have the Cavaliers favored to pick up the win. Listen, you can't ask that question, man. Irving (14-24 FG), Love (6-7 FG) and James (11-20 FG) also became the first three teammates to each score at least 25 points while shooting.550 from the field in a playoff game since in did it on 5/4/93 (Reggie Miller, Rik Smits and Detlef Schrempf of Indiana). You might even suggest that San Antonio welcomes it and can outplay Memphis in that style. But Leonard seized control of the game at both ends, finishing with 32 points as the Spurs overcame their early 13-point deficit to beat the Grizzlies 111-82. Blowing fourth-quarter leads has been a problem now for weeks. He's got to learn to just be in the moment. They don't - they can't - get closer than that. They go at matchups and do a good job of recognizing matchups and taking advantage of that matchup.
The Pacers lost in the final seconds at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, and are looking to bounce back in Game 2 on Monday night. Cleveland is 12-0 when starting 2-0 in the postseason. They do hit them at a fair rate and are the second best team from the free throw line, always an important factor come playoff time.
But Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue sounded the warning about his team's high turnover count, which allowed the Pacers to re-enter the contest. We missed 13 free throws (in 27 attempts), turned the ball over (11 times) and they got 19 points. I don't know if we can take it away from them. We got that past year, and it turned into one of the best Finals anyone can remember.
Sitting at the postgame podium, flanked by no one, Paul George was at a loss for words. TV analysts, even as late as Monday night, were eager to point to Stephenson as a sparkplug for Indiana.
Kawhi Leonard finished with 37 points as the Spurs took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series at AT&T Center. Game 2, 9:30 p.m., TNT.
He's gotta know at this point we need him to take it to the next level, and we'll continue to work with him.
San Antonio had a 26-point lead in the first half on the strength of its outside shooting.
Smith scored six points in Game 1, a Cleveland win, after averaging 8.6 points in 41 regular-season games.
INJURY UPDATE: The Grizzlies don't expect defensive stopper Tony Allen (strained right calf) to play in the series.
IN will welcome the change of venue for Game 3 and may receive a boost if J.R. Smith remains limited or sidelined by a hamstring injury that kept him out for the closing portion of Game 2.