Pacers eager to face Cavaliers in Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana can't wait for another crack at the Cleveland Cavaliers, especially in front of the Pacers' home crowd
"It's going to be incredible being on the floor," Indiana center Myles Turner said. "I think we're in a great spot. We wanted to go 2-0 but we did our job and got one. I can't wait to get in front of the Indy fans."
Pacers point guard Darren Collison expects it to be loud Friday for Game 3 of the first-round playoff series that is tied at a game apiece.
"We can't wait," Collison said.
After winning Game 1 by 18 points, the Pacers fell behind 16-1 in Game 2 as LeBron James scored all 16 of those points, including the first 13 for either team. The Cavaliers, never trailed, but had to hold on at the end for a 100-97 victory Wednesday night.
James scored nearly half of the Cavaliers' points with 46.
"We have to do a better job of containing him, which is easier said than done," Collison said. "We made enough plays to give ourselves a chance to win despite his 46 points."
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue's focus was to get James going early. Lue switched his starting lineup in Game 2, inserting shooters J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver in place of Rodney Hood and Jeff Green. Korver, who scored 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting on 3-pointers, started just four games in the regular season. Lue said he plans to stick with that lineup, praising the job Smith did on Victor Oladipo, the Pacers leading scorer, and the fact Korver took two charges from Oladipo.
Oladipo picked up two fouls in the first 62 seconds and had to go the bench. Oladipo finished with 22 points, 10 fewer than he scoring in the Pacers' win in Game 1 on Sunday.
"I need to see more out of a lot of guys," Lue said.
Lue understands he can't expect James to shoot that well (17 of 24) the rest of the series.
"Them being aggressive is something we expected," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. "They put shooters on the perimeter, and LeBron was going to put his head down and go to the basket. We didn't do a good job tonight of keeping the ball in front of us. We made adjustments and got back into the game. The first quarter they basically came out and hit us in the mouth."
And James issued the biggest punch, scoring 20 in the first quarter as the Cavs led 33-18 entering the second period. It was a stark contrast to the Game 1 loss, when the Cavs trailed 33-14 after one quarter.
"I just felt like I was in a really good rhythm, so just tried to see how long I could stay in that zone and just try to make a mark on the game early on, especially after the way we started in Game 1," James said.
Pacers forward Thaddeus Young said the Pacers drew confidence from the fact that they had a shot to win despite James' huge offensive outburst.
"In order for them to win this game, he had to be aggressive," Young said. "He made some tough shots. In the first quarter, he made three or four fadeaway jumpers. He made some contested 3s. If he's going to make those contested shots, it's going to be a long series."
Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who scored 15 points in Game 2, jammed his left thumb late in the game while deflecting a pass. X-rays after the game were negative. Lue and Love said they expect Love to be fine for Friday's game.
Pacers reserve Joseph Young is listed as questionable with a sinus infection.
James, Smith and Love were on the Cavaliers' 2016 NBA championship team. Korver joined the trio on the 2017 team, which reached the finals.
"It's a fine line," James told Cleveland.com, "because now all the new guys come off the bench. But, yeah, the lineup we had (Wednesday night) worked, we all know each other and play well."
For the Pacers, more focused play is a must.
"We were sloppy with the basketball," McMillan said. "With 17 turnovers, you are not winning. We're better than that. You can't give them 17 extra attempts. We'll make adjustments and come back and be ready for Friday."
Updated April 19, 2018