James helps Cavs hold off Pacers, earn sweep into 2nd round

James helps Cavs hold off Pacers, earn sweep into 2nd round

James helps Cavs hold off Pacers, earn sweep into 2nd round

They addressed some and need to answer more, but the vulnerability that shrouded Cleveland in the final weeks of the regular season and into the playoffs isn't as palpable.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James instructs teammates during the first half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, Sunday, April 23, 2017, in Indianapolis. He finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks, including this highlight reel swat with his elbow. The Cavs' average was 12-points higher per game than the average NBA Finals team allows in first-round series, according to ESPN, and this is the worst defense a team with LeBron James on it has ever played in a playoff series it won. IN controlled much of the first three quarters and scored 74 points in the first half.

A recurring theme throughout the series has been Oklahoma City's tendency to lose leads when Westbrook sits in the second half. The Cavaliers squandered a 96-83 lead in the fourth quarter and trailed 102-100 before James hit his only trey of the game.

Paul George had his worst game of the series, dropping 15 points on just 5-21 shooting, and missed a three-pointer that would've tied the game in the closing seconds.

"We came out in the second half with a 25-point lead and had a chance to put our foot on their throat", said George, who tallied 36 points as well as 15 rebounds and nine assists.

LeBron James lead the way for the Cavaliers, scoring 33 points while grabbing 10 boards.

"He brings energy and a passion, and I think somewhat of a toughness", IN coach Nate McMillan said of Stephenson, who was added to the Pacers roster on March 29.

Boston blew a 20-point lead, but Thomas keyed a third-quarter run that put the Celtics back on top after Chicago briefly went ahead. In another encouraging sign, Williams, who had 14 points in Game 4, has discovered a comfort level after initially struggling when the Cavaliers acquired him in late February. The Pacers were swept for the first time in a seven-game series in franchise history.

Cavaliers defeated Pacers 4-0 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round match-up and will next face the victor between Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks. "I trust the guys on that floor, but I just thought — you know, I watched it kind of unravel — that's when I should have stepped in and demanded the ball a little bit more", he said. Their loss snapped a streak of 10 consecutive playoff wins over the Grizzlies. The Bulls themselves lost point guard Rajon Rondo indefinitely to a fractured thumb suffered in Game 2. Nikola Mirotic and seldom-used Isaiah Canaan each scored 13 points, but Dwyane Wade finished with just 11.

Cavaliers: Irving, Love, J.R. Smith, Channing Frye all scored 13 points.

Turning Point - In Game 2, it was Kevin Love who took over in the third quarter and gave the Cavaliers a boost after intermission.

The Cavs are now chasing their seventh straight postseason win, their 11th consecutive first-round win since James' return.

James delivered 28 second-half points as he took over the contest in the fourth quarter in front of a crowd of 18,100 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.

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