Cavs stage amaz­ing come­back

Cavs crawl back from 26-point deficit to de­feat Pac­ers and take 3-0 se­ries lead

Cebu Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

In­di­anapo­lis—LeBron James fin­ished with 41 points, 13 re­bounds and 12 as­sists as the Cleve­land Cava­liers set an NBA post­sea­son record by eras­ing a 25-point half­time deficit to beat the In­di­ana Pac­ers 119-114 on Thurs­day night.

James passed Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the NBA’s ca­reer play­off scor­ing list and tied an­other NBA record by win­ning his 20th con­sec­u­tive first-round game.

The Cava­liers, lead­ing 3-0, will try to sweep the se­ries Sun­day.

The in­cred­i­ble rally ru­ined Paul Ge­orge’s big night. He had 36 points, a play­off ca­reer-high 15 re­bounds and nine as­sists.

Cleve­land trailed by 26 in the first half and was still down 74-49 at half­time. The largest half­time deficit over­come to win a play­off game had been 21 points by Bal­ti­more against Phil­a­del­phia in 1948.

James scored 13 points in the third quar­ter to get the Cavs within 91-84.

James now has 5,669 points, 29 ahead of Bryant. He also matched three other ex-Los Angeles Lak­ers — Magic John­son, Michael Cooper and James Wor­thy — for most con­sec­u­tive first-round wins.

This come­back be­gan with a sec­ond straight dev­as­tat­ing third-quar­ter punch from the Cavs.

Af­ter Cleve­land cut the deficit to 77-62 and then watched In­di­ana ex­tend the mar­gin to 20, Cleve­land fin­ished the quar­ter on a 17-4 spurt to make it 91-84. Things only got worse for the Pac­ers. Ge­orge’s 3 with 5:15 to go gave In­di­ana a 104-103 lead — its last of the game. James an­swered with a layup out of a time­out and the Cavs never trailed again.

It’s only the sec­ond time in the Pac­ers’ NBA his­tory they have lost the first three games in a best-of-seven se­ries. In­di­ana has never en­dured a four-game sweep since join­ing the NBA.

AP

Cleve­land Cava­liers' LeBron James cel­e­brates in Game 3 of the team's first-round NBA bas­ket­ball play­off se­ries against the In­di­ana Pac­ers.

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