LeBron, Cavs stage historic comeback
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