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Game Recap: Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Indiana Pacers 117-111
If there is one thing that is consistent with the Cleveland Cavaliers, its that they have a knack for making things more difficult than they need to be. This was once again the case with their 117-111 win in game two.
The game got off to a sloppy start for the Cavs. In game one the Pacers struggled defending the pick and roll, and came prepared to counter that with a high trap in the pick and roll. This strategy worked well early, forcing three quick turnovers from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. After a quick timeout, the Cavs countered by having a weak-side ball-handler for an outlet, and attacking quickly before the trap could be set up.
While the Cavs played better defense in game one than the statistics showed, early in this game the sloppiness carried over to the defensive end of the floor. There were several instances of miscommunication and the Pacers managed to get Irving switched onto Paul George or Myles Turner a few times. Regardless of what Irving does in those situations, he is just giving up far too much length to have any impact.
To close the quarter, the Cavs went with Deron Williams and Kevin Love, with James and Irving sitting. As we have seen recently, Williams is much more comfortable being a lead ball-handler and initiating in the pick and roll. At least when compared to how he plays off ball with James and Irving. The decision paid dividends for Lue, as the team was a +6 in those minutes and finished the quarter with a 32-29 lead.
The second quarter with the Cavs clamping down on the defensive end. They opened up the quarter with a 8-0 run, while the Pacers didnt score until a pair of free throws from George at the 8:26 mark. Lue went with a lineup of James, surrounded with shooters in Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, Love, and Channing Frye. The move was incredibly effective, as Williams caught fire and the Pacers were simply unable to deal with the spacing. The defense was forced to collapse around James, and he shredded them with his vision.
Turnovers seemed to be the only thing that kept Indiana in the game during the second quarter. After having only 11 turnovers in game one, the team matched that with 11 first half turnovers. The 14-6 advantage in points off turnovers reduced the halftime lead to 63-58, in favor of the Cavs.
Iman Shumpert got his playoff debut to start the second half. J.R. Smith was unable to play in the second half, due to a left hamstring injury. He appeared to be favoring it since the playoffs started, so it likely became too much for him to handle. Consistency and decision-making have been issues for Shumpert this season. Its unclear how long Smith will be out for, but its possible that watching the first three halves of these playoffs on the bench could be a needed wake-up call for Shumpert.
To his credit, Shumpert played incredibly inspired basketball when his number was called. He played solid defense, hit a couple shots and played within himself.
Last edited by karinacutie; 04-19-2017 at 07:25 PM.
In the third quarter, Irving also passed Mark Price for second place in franchise history for playoff points scored. Hes pretty good. He absolutely roasted Lance Stephenson with a vicious crossover in the third, and put a punctuation mark with a step-back three to close the quarter.
I will not apologize for this pun, but Love was everywhere in the third quarter. He embarrassed the smaller Pacers defenders throughout the third quarter, as they had no choice but to foul him repeatedly. He even drew a huge charge while the Cavs extended their halftime lead of five to eighteen.
Irving went absolutely bananas in the fourth quarter. His pick and roll wizardry was on full display, as he probed the defense with his handle and attacked wherever they were vulnerable. I am not sure if there is something between Stephenson and Irving, but it seemed as though he did everything in his power to get Stephenson on him, and then roast him.
I love Claveland consistency in their game. They will never disappoint you.