Cavaliers sweep Pacers, Rockets put Thunder on the brink

Ross Houston
May 3, 2017

The Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team in this year's playoffs to reach the second round after they beat the Pacers 106-102 on Sunday to complete a first-round sweep.

"You have to mentally challenge yourself every year and go out and try to do what's right - putting your body on the line, putting your team on the line and trying to be successful", James said.

The Cavaliers have now won 21 consecutive first-round playoff games. Boston blew a 20-point lead, but Thomas keyed a third-quarter run that put the Celtics back on top after Chicago briefly went ahead.

The Cavaliers had ended the third quarter strong, closing out the frame by extending their lead to 11 points following two Kyrie Irving free throws.

At Oklahoma City, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams scored 18 points each and Nene delivered a team-high 28 as Rockets now have a chance to close out the series on Tuesday at home.

James is also 52-0 in the playoffs when his team hold a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter.

In Game 3, James had a triple-double as he nearly single-handedly rallied the Cavs from a 25-point halftime deficit.

Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 22 points and Paul George had a series-low 15 points.

It was the first time the Pacers have been swept in the first round since the National Basketball Association went to a best-of-7 format for the opening round starting in 2003.

He was just 5 of 17 from the field in the second half. The Pacers had the ball down by one point in the final possession of Game 1, and they mounted a late comeback attempt in Game 2. Washington showed this season in going toe-to-toe with Cleveland twice (losing in overtime at home in February before blowing out the Cavaliers in Cleveland last month) that it relishes the opportunity to face James.

Of course, it helps to have James on your team. It appeared that IN would win their first contest at home when they took a 25-point halftime lead IN Game 3, but the East's No.7 seed fell victim to the biggest comeback IN postseason history. But after everything that has happened over the past week, Indiana's more hard challenge may be coping with the fact they've been so close that they could be leading 2-1 or 3-0 heading into Sunday. So we knew we had something to deal with.

James scored 41 points while padding his postseason resume with yet another triple-double, leading defending champion Cleveland back from a 25-point halftime deficit to a 119-114 victory over the Pacers on Thursday night.

Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 22 points and six rebounds off the IN bench before fouling out late. We fought our way back in the game, took the lead.

Myles Turner's poster and Paul George's lovely alley-oop from out-of-bounds served as symbols of indication that the Pacers refused to be swept, and Game 3 would be theirs.

"We were on point defensively, and offensively we knew exactly what we wanted to do", James said.

Don't look now, but Cleveland's second-round opponent could be the sixth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, who lead No. 3 Toronto 2-1 in their series. Wilt Chamberlain did it in four consecutive games in 1967.

Coach Tyronn Lue thought the Cavaliers' defense made progress in Game 2 Monday night, even though the Pacers' shooting percentage didn't reflect it.

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