There would be no Hoosiers-like comeback for the Indiana Pacers. But that’s OK. When you’re matched up with LeBron James, storybook endings aren’t exactly the norm.
So instead of allowing themselves to be conquered by David, the Cavaliers remained a first-round Goliath, holding on (again) for a 106-102 win over the Pacers and completing their sweep of their first-round playoff series.
The Cavs will next face the winner of the series between Milwaukee and Toronto. Regardless of opponent, Game 1 of the second round will be Monday, May 1 in Cleveland.
James, of course, buried what turned out to be the biggest shot of the day, a 3-pointer from 28 feet that gave the Cavs a 103-102 lead with 1:07 remaining.
Later, he made the free throw that sealed it on his way to a game-high 33 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.
James leads all NBA players with most playoff sweeps, having done it 10 times.
Kyrie Irving added 28 points, but added 0 assists and went just 10-of-25 from the field in his second straight Jekyll and Hyde performance. Actually, Game 3 may have actually just been Hyde. Or is it Jekyll?
Either way, the Cavs are likely to need more well-rounded play from their star point guard moving forward.
Not to be outdone in the strange game department, Kevin Love shot just 2 of 13 for five points, but collected 16 whopping rebounds. The Cavs needed every last one of them — but will also need Love to start hitting some shots. They acquired him to do both, not just one or the other.
Meanwhile, Deron Williams was brilliant off the Cavs’ bench, as the reserve playmaker made all four of his shots on the way to 14 points. Also, Tristan Thompson yanked down 11 boards and played with his usual dose of important energy.
The Pacers received 20 points from Myles Turner, but just 15 from star Paul George, who went 5-of-21 shooting in the biggest game of the season.
Lots of questions remain in Indy. Was that George’s final game with the Pacers? How will Larry Bird reshape the team? Will Bird himself even bother to return?
I’ll have much more on the Cavaliers, the Pacers and the NBA playoffs coming soon, so stay tuned.
In 20 years of covering sports at all levels, I've never seen team more confusing than these #Cavs. Also, they just completed 1st-rd sweep.
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) April 23, 2017
FINAL: Cavaliers 106, Pacers 102. The Cavaliers sweep the Pacers. This is the firs time Indiana has been swept in a possible 7-game series.
— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) April 23, 2017
Tyronn Lue about that JR Smith TO, to us on press row: "What the f— was that?"
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) April 23, 2017