Shumpert sparks Cavs after Smith hurts hamstring in Game 2

Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, Kevin Love added 27 and the host Cleveland Cavaliers avoided another fourth-quarter collapse in Game 2, beating the Indiana Pacers 117-111 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is tomorrow in Indianapolis.

"I rather have a big lead than having no lead at all", James told reporters post-game as the King answered questions about his team's inability to hold on to big leads.

In his 12th postseason run in 14 seasons, James is averaging 28.5 points, 10.0 assists and 8.6 rebounds in 42.5 minutes, up from 26.4 points, 8.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds in 37.8 minutes during the regular season. After pouring in 32 points, to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists in Game 2, Pacers forward Paul George is the leading scorer in the series with 61 total points.

"I just try to put myself in position to help my teammates win - no matter who's on the floor with me", James said. If we do that, get our fans involved, get this city really behind us again, past year was magical for us.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith is hopeful of a quick return from a hamstring injury which restricted him in his team's win over the Indiana Pacers. They were able to make it somewhat closer thanks to a fourth quarter performance where they outscored the Cavaliers 33-21.

The Cavs had a double-digit lead against the Pacers before grinding out the win, but James says the team are close to pulling everything together. He's one of the top players in the National Basketball Association and has been anointed as the Pacers' franchise player, but their superstar sounds like he's on an island trying to compete right now.

"Sometimes when you're matching up to them and you're going small, their small lineup is better than your small lineup, so you have to be careful with that", Pacers coach Nate McMillan said after the game.

He really started throwing a fit in the third quarter when the Cavs kept attacking him with Kevin Love. "We believe in each other, we trust in each other and it was not a situation like there were hurt feelings in the locker room".

"You take away the open shots and they don't get a rhythm to make the tough shots".

Iman Shumpert went from odd-man out to go-to guy in just two games.

Love also provided a spark on defense, sacrifcing his body to draw charges to give his team and the crowd a boost of energy. "He's got to channel that toward making effort plays on the court and doing whatever he needs for us to succeed". "They didn't want me to play", he said as he walked out of the arena without a noticeable limp.

The all-star made a few comments after the game that had national media outlets calling him "selfish". It's our offence. I think we get exhausted at times. and we don't push the ball every single possession when we get a chance.

The Cavs' offense was exemplary, shooting 60.3 percent through three quarters and 55.3 percent for the game. "Just staying ready, being professional, he did a great job on Paul George". They're sticking to us, so it's hard for us to get shots.

  • Angelo Rivera