LeBron, Cavs stage his­toric come­back

Chicago Sun-Times - - NBA PLAYOFFS -

LeBron James fin­ished with 41 points, 13 re­bounds and 12 as­sists, and the Cava­liers set an NBA post­sea­son record by eras­ing a 25- point half­time deficit to beat the host Pac­ers 119- 111 on Thurs­day night and take a 3- 0 se­ries lead.

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 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. Cleve­land re­gained the lead twice dur­ing a 15- 5 fourth- quar­ter run and closed it out with a 12- 5 spurt.

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

This come­back be­gan with a sec­ond straight dev­as­tat­ing thirdquar­ter punch from the Cavs. The Cavs fin­ished the third quar­ter on a 17- 4 spurt to make it 91- 84.

Things only got worse for the Pac­ers.

Ge­orge’s three 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- of­seven se­ries. In­di­ana has never en­dured a four- game sweep since join­ing the NBA.

Bucks 104, Rap­tors 77

Khris Mid­dle­ton scored 20 points, and the host Bucks over­whelmed the cold- shoot­ing Rap­tors to take a 2- 1 lead in their Eastern Con­fer­ence first- round se­ries.

Greg Mon­roe added 16 points and seven re­bounds for the Bucks, who held DeMar DeRozan with­out a bas­ket and never looked back af­ter lead­ing by 20 points af­ter the first quar­ter.

Making this blowout even more im­pres­sive was that they barely needed All- Star Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo. He fin­ished with 19 points and eight boards.

The Rap­tors looked fraz­zled af­ter shoot­ing 4- for- 18 in the first quar­ter. Kyle Lowry had 13 points. DeRozan scored eight but was 0- for- 8 from the field.

Griz­zlies 105, Spurs 94

Mike Con­ley scored 24 points and handed out eight as­sists as the Griz­zlies snapped a 10- game post­sea­son skid against the vis­it­ing Spurs.

The Griz­zlies pulled within 2- 1 in the Western Con­fer­ence first- round se­ries, giv­ing first- year coach David Fiz­dale his first post­sea­son vic­tory.

Marc Ga­sol and Zach Ran­dolph each scored 21 points for Mem­phis, which outscored San An­to­nio 31- 17 in the third quar­ter and led by 22 in the sec­ond half.

Kawhi Leonard, who scored 32 and 37 in the first two games, was held to 18. LaMar­cus Aldridge added 16, and Kyle An­der­son had 15 as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich benched his starters for most of the fourth quar­ter.

Jazz cen­ter Gobert to sit Game 3

Jazz cen­ter Rudy Gobert will not play in Game 3 against the Clip­pers on Fri­day af­ter hy­per­ex­tend­ing his left knee and suf­fer­ing a bone bruise in the se­ries opener.

LeBron James had 41 points, 13 re­bounds and 12 as­sists as the Cava­liers ral­lied from a 25- point half­time deficit against the Pac­ers. | AP

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