CLEVELAND - Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith left Game 2 of the Cavs' first-round series against the Indiana Pacers at halftime Monday because of a left hamstring injury and did not return.
If Pacers superstar Paul George was upset with CJ Miles for taking the potential game victor from him Saturday, you have to wonder how he felt about Lance Stephenson falling into the foil role Cleveland needed to wake up and play inspired ball, leading to a 19-point Cavaliers lead.
It continued a disturbing trend for the Cavs, who have been giving up late, big leads with regularity. I just want to win the game.
Before Monday's game, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue talked about the challenge of keeping Love involved throughout because of the abundance of scoring options on the roster.
"Good defense" was little represented on both sides, especially with IN having real issues defending LeBron James and the pick-and-roll, but the Cavs couldn't capitalize as much as they should have. Love went on a personal 10-0 run to extend Cleveland's edge to a game-high 19 points, the kind of cushion they needed given their fourth-quarter woes showed up once again.
The Cavaliers finished in the 2 spot at the end of the season with a record of 51-31, 2 games behind the Boston Celtics who dropped their opening playoff game to the Chicago Bulls. "When they go up and they're shooting at 75 percent in those first couple of minutes, you have to put your hat on on the defensive end".
KEEP AN EYE ON: Cleveland's free-throw shooting. Every negative play makes him visibly angry, and it doesn't get much worse than a LeBron dunk against his team on the road. The playoffs are about adjustments and what you can do better.
"If they let me play, I'll play", he noted. "But we'll be better". Kyrie Irving scored 23 points to go with six assists but shot 11 of 27 from the field. If the Pacers have any chance to win this series, it's on the shoulders of their superstar.
Grizzlies at Spurs, San Antonio leads 1-0.
When: Thursday, 7 p.m. Stephenson started cold shooting, but wound up with 13 points. Khloe has been a fixture at all Cleveland Cavaliers games, during the regular season as well as the playoffs, ever since she began dating center, Tristan Thompson, 26.
Iman Shumpert replaced Smith in the second half and Lue praised Shumpert's tenacity, especially on defense as the Pacers held Indiana's Paul George to four points in the third quarter. He scored four in nine minutes.
The Cavs still led 109-91 with 6:09 left, but the Pacers ripped off 13 straight points and were within 113-109 when George hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left.