The Cavaliers overcome a 25-point deficit to take 3-0 lead on Pacers.
CAVALIERS 119, PACERS 114
LeBron James celebrated another milestone with the greatest second-half comeback in playoff history.
Win one more at the Indiana Pacers, the four-time MVP will be crowned king of the first round.
James scored 41 points while padding his postseason résumé with yet another triple-double, leading the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers back from a 25-point halftime deficit to a 119-114 victory over the Pacers on Thursday night in Indianapolis.
“We knew we had to take [some] punches, but it was a flurry, more than we expected,” James said. “At halftime, I was just looking at the guys and telling them, ‘Let’s get a couple stops.’”
Officially, it will go down as the third-largest comeback in playoff history. But the largest halftime deficit overcome previously was 21 points, by Baltimore against Philadelphia in 1948.
As for James, he keeps moving up in the record books, too.
He scored 28 in the second half and finished with 13 rebounds and 12 assists, moving past Kobe Bryant and into third on the NBA’s playoff scoring list. Bryant had 5,640 points; James has 5,669.
James also won his 20th consecutive first-round game, matching a feat achieved by three other former Los Angeles Lakers — Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson and James Worthy. Win Sunday, and he’ll have the longest first-round winning streak under the current playoff format, which began in 1984.
Cleveland has won 11 straight first-round games since James returned to his hometown team.
Paul George did everything he could to get Indiana back in the series. He scored 36 points, grabbed a playoff-career-high 15 rebounds and finishing with nine assists. But it still wasn’t enough.
GRIZZLIES 105, SPURS 94: Mike Conley scored 24 points and handed out eight assists as Memphis snapped a 10-game postseason skid against San Antonio.
The host Grizzlies pulled within 2-1 in this first-round Western Conference series, giving firstyear Coach David Fizdale his first postseason victory.
This also marked the Grizzlies’ first win over the Spurs in the playoffs since April 2011, when Memphis beat San Antonio in six games. Game 4 is Saturday night. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each scored 21 points for Memphis.
BUCKS 104, RAPTORS 77: Khris Middleton scored 20 points, and host Milwaukee overwhelmed cold-shooting Toronto to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff 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.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points and eight boards for Milwaukee.
Game 4 is Saturday back at the Bradley Center.
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. The Raptors and their playoff-tested backcourt looked nothing like the crew that held off Milwaukee in Game 2 in Toronto.
Milwaukee hasn’t won a playoff series since going to the conference finals in 2001.
Withey under investigation
Police in Manhattan Beach, Calif., are investigating an allegation of domestic violence against Utah Jazz center Jeff Withey.
Manhattan Beach police spokesman Sgt. Tim Zins said that a police report had been filed accusing Withey of domestic violence and detectives were looking into it.
The Jazz said in a statement that the team was aware of the allegations against Withey but would not comment until it had a better understanding of the situation.
“It’s a situation that we’re aware of and they’re researching further to find out what all the facts are,” Jazz Coach Quin Snyder said after practice Thursday
Withey’s role has grown since the playoffs began after Rudy Gobert was lost to a knee injury in Game 1 of Utah’s first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Power forward Derrick Favors has moved to center with Gobert out, and Withey will be the lone active true center on the roster when the Jazz hosts the Clippers for Game 3 on Friday.
WARRIORS: Kevin Durant said he felt ready to play in Golden State’s Game 2 playoff win a day earlier, though the Warriors opted to be cautious with their superstar as he nurses a strained left calf muscle.
Durant posted an update about his injury during a live stream on his YouTube channel Thursday evening. He is hopeful of playing in Saturday’s Game 3 at Portland as the Warriors try to take a 3- 0 lead in the series, though Coach Steve Kerr said being up two games could affect any decision.
LeBron James had 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the second half against the Pacers.