The Pacers have been made their fame on being a resilient team all season, not afraid of anyone or any deficit. Game 3 against the Cavs was no different on Friday night. The Cavs came into the arena in matching grey suits and came out like a team that could easily reach the NBA Finals. LeBron James only needed to score 13 points in the first half because teammates like Kevin Love (16) and George Hill (11) were carrying the load. Their defense intensified, their shots were falling, and they looked like the team they were constructed to be.
Then the second half happened.
Bojan Bogdanovic, largely responsible for guarding LeBron throughout this series, dropped 30 points and seven three-pointers which ties the Pacers record for threes in a playoff game.
The Pacers completely took over the second half and everything that worked for the Cavs in the first half, they stopped doing. Their defensive rotations were slow. Their offense stalled. And the Pacers took advantage at every spot. Things aren’t over for the Cavs, but they certainly are not good.
Pacers 92, Cavs 90 - FINAL
The Pacers complete the 17-point comeback is complete! Pacers take a 2-1 lead in the series. Game 4 will be back in Indy on Sunday.
Pacers 91, Cavs 90 - 7.6 4Q
LeBron launched a quick three-pointer and missed but Kevin Love got the offensive board, dribbled out to the three-point line in the counter and knocked down a huge three-pointer. Wow.
Pacers 91, Cavs 87 - 37.5 4Q
The Pacers pulled ahead 91-84 but not before ANOTHER LEBRON JAMES THREE-POINTER. We’re not quite done yet.
Pacers 84, Cavs 81 - 3:36 4Q
TWO BACK TO BACK THREES FROM LEBRON! HERE WE GO!
Pacers 84, Cavs 77 - 5:40 4Q
Yes, that score is correct. The Pacers are +24 in the last 18 minutes. Bojoan Bogdonavic just hit back-to-back three-pointers. He’s got six three-pointers in this game. The playoff record is seven held by Reggie Miller, Paul George, and Chuck Person.
Cavs 75, Pacers 75 - 8:31 4Q
That 17-point lead? It’s gone. We’ve got ourselves a game, folks.
Cavs 69, Pacers 63 - End of 3Q
That was not a banner quarter for the Cavaliers. They had had more turnovers than field goals, going 5-of-19 from the floor and giving up seven turnovers. Explains the ability for the Pacers to cut into that 17-point halftime lead.
Cavs 67, Pacers 61 - 1:38 3Q
The Pacers continue to fight back outscoring the Cavs 23-12 so far, but maybe the most exciting part of this third quarter was this monster J.R. Smith missed dunk.
JR Smith wanted to end the series with this dunk pic.twitter.com/orP7vNB0EZ— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 21, 2018
Cavs 61, Pacers 53 - 6:16 3Q
The Pacers, as they have all season, continue to fight back. They’re on a 9-2 run to start the third quarter and look much more aggressive to start the second half.
Cavs 57, Pacers 40 - Halftime
This is exactly what the Cavaliers needed. LeBron James has 13 points at the half while the rest of the team as 44. Not only are they making shots, they’re quite efficient shooting 53 percent in the first 24 minutes. Kevin Love leads all scorers with 16 points.
Cavs 49, Pacers 38 - 2:40 2Q
Both teams are shooting above 50 precent for the game but have 10 turnovers. It’s a lot for a team that only averages 13 for an entire game.
Cavs 42, Pacers 31 - 7:25 2Q
With LeBron on the bench, the Cavs rotation players tonight continue to hold things down. Example: Jeff Green with the steal and Larry Nance Jr. with the putback dunk.
Cavs 31, Pacers 20 - End of 1Q
Good news for the Cavs to star this one. LeBron only has eight points in the first quarter and they’ve already built a solid lead. James not having to do every single thing for Cleveland is what they need. The supporting cast has shown up tonight.
Cavs 28, Pacers 17 - 2:17 1Q
Turnovers are killing the Pacers early. For a team that rarely turned the ball over all season, they have six in the first quarter. You can’t turn the ball over in the playoffs and especially not against LeBron James.
Cavs 17, Pacers 15 - 5:23 1Q
The refs have decided they would like to call this game extremely tight as Bojan Bogdanovic and Kyle Korver already have two fouls each. The offense has been flowing for both teams though, as George Hill already has 9 points and Lance Stephenson leads the way with six for the Pacers.
LeBron bought matching suits for the entire Cavs team. Hello.
The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a dominant performance from LeBron James in Game 2 to earn a split against the Indiana Pacers at home, but now things shift to Indiana for Game 3 of their first-round NBA playoff series on Friday night.
James poured in 46 points on 17-of-24 shooting on Wednesday night and grabbed 12 rebounds. He scored 13 points before the Pacers even scored one in Game 2, building an impressive 13-1 lead for the Cavs. The Pacers cut the deficit to three in the final minute but never got closer as Cleveland was able to hold on to even the series.
“It’s a good sign when you lose by three and the best player in the world has a game like that,” Pacers guard Darren Collison told the Associated Press.
Victor Oladipo has led the way for Indiana in the series averaging 27 points per game, and center Myles Turner has chipped in with 17 points per game on 62% shooting.
The Pacers were 27-14 at home during the regular season, and beat Cleveland both times they faced off in Indiana. Oladipo averaged 26 points in those two wins.
Pacers vs. Cavaliers Game 3 info
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana
Game time: 7 p.m. ET
Announcers: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Lisa Salters
Online streaming: Watch ESPN