Irving scores 37, Cavs hold on to beat Pacers 117-111

Iman Shumpert Tyronn Lue

But the night belonged to point guard Kyrie Irving, who drilled 37 points on 14-for-24 shooting including 4-of-10 from 3-point range. In fact, that's exactly how the game started out.

For Indiana, George led the way with 32 points while Jeff Teague weighed in with 23 points and Thaddeus Young 16.

Those two were really the ones that paved the way for IN offensively-George finished with 32 and Teague had 23.

Lance Stephenson added 13 points, but did not have the same poise and was a little erratic. By the end of the third quarter in Game 2, the Paces trailed 96-78.

As mentioned above, Cleveland was a well-oiled machine offensively. Nothing about the game plan changed, and it manifested itself. For all of the doubts about the Cavs defensively, they still are capable of putting up an offensive barrage that really only one team - the Warriors - can truly match in a head-to-head battle.

In the end, the Cavaliers picked up the intensity when it mattered most and James, a three-times National Basketball Association champion and four-times league Most Valuable Player, is choosing to stay focused on the positives rather fret about almost blowing another lead.

In his sixth season with the Pacers, George has yet to overcome Lebron James in the playoffs. Kevin Love put his off shooting night in Game 1 behind him and played an extremely efficient game, scoring 27 points on just six shots.

First off, the Cavaliers helped make this possible by the way they free up Love at the 3-point line.

Cavs guard J.R. Smith did not return for the second half because of a left hamstring injury. And I've kicked it to him and he's made the big shot.

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George has been individually excellent in the series, which was always expected. "He's got to learn to just be in the moment".

Paul George batted down any notion that his recent comments about C.J. He hasn't been sidestepping anything. The Cavs are a tough team to hide Thad against, given the starting lineup used in game one, so another way to aide Thad on the defensive end would be starting CJ Miles. George appears to be headed that way again, and after the Game 2 loss he was critical of his teammates. George has a player option can opt out of in 2018, and in may need to consider its options ahead of losing him for nothing.

The Cavs have never lost a playoff series in which they led 2-0, going 12-0.

As for the critics, well, they fall into a different category. Both times, the Pacers failed in the final minute. That can be demoralizing for a group that's scratching and clawing against the defending champions.

It continued a disturbing trend for the Cavs, who have been giving up late, big leads with regularity. "If they are going to play small like that than Kevin should dominate".

Before members of the media were allowed into the locker room following Monday night's game, Smith had already packed up and headed home. "My guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game - and they did not even give us a chance", Fizdale told journalists.

Smith didn't play in the second half of Game 2 because Cleveland's medical staff decided it was better for him to rest than risk making his injury worse.

Stephenson, who just signed a three-year deal late in the regular season, had a plus/minus of minus-7 in five minutes in the third quarter with the Cavs taking over the game.

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