Cavs, Spurs march on in NBA playoffs

Indiana Pacers Jeff Teague passes over Cleveland Cavaliers J.R. Smith in the first half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Monday

Indiana Pacers Jeff Teague passes over Cleveland Cavaliers J.R. Smith in the first half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Monday

The reason for the Cavs' low margin of victory in this one was actually not the free throws, but carelessness with the ball. And, while they won both of those games against the Pacers, the defense must improve significantly if Cleveland hopes to successfully defend its title in June. Every time he has a bad game, which is a rarity, some wine and gold fans and fans across the National Basketball Association continually re-converse about the trade that sent Love to Cleveland for then-rookie Andrew Wiggins, a conversation that should have stopped before it even started, but who am I to say. Paul George led the team with 32 points with eight rebounds and seven assists, Jeff Teague added 23 points with four assists while Thaddeus Young chipped in with 16 points.

Those two were really the ones that paved the way for IN offensively-George finished with 32 and Teague had 23. But they also blew a 3-1 lead, so anything is possible. He also had some interesting words to direct at second-year big man Myles Turner.

As mentioned above, Cleveland was a well-oiled machine offensively. Nothing about the game plan changed, and it manifested itself.

"Third quarter, we just lost our composure". During this time, the Pacers saw a nine-point Cavs lead balloon to 19.

According to, even superstar LeBron James took notice and praised Kevin Love of his inspiring plays, saying that "Kevin's performance was huge because when you see your brother sacrificing his body like that, it automatically inspires you more to perform well and get the job done".

Spurs' forward Kawhi Leonard pulled off a Herculean effort with 37 points and 11 rebounds; he was flawless from the free-throw line hitting all 19 attempts. He did his damage from the free-throw line on a ideal 12-for-12.

"I thought he had a good look". Smith and Korver had four each from long distance and Frye buried two of his own, including one late in the fourth quarter. "I never do. Sometimes players just say things differently than coaches", George said. Going more in-depth, the Pacers' All-Star forward was held to a 92.9 offensive rating on a 45.1 percent true shooting percentage.

If George is unhappy and the Pacers can't make it out of the first round, the front office may have to have an honest discussion about trading George before he bolts when he gets the chance.

On Monday night, Shumpert got a reprieve and made the most of it. The Pacers are not struggling to score through the first two games of this series as it is their defense that is killing them. He hasn't been sidestepping anything.

George's recent criticism comes days after he chided C.J. Miles for taking and missing the game-winning shot attempt in Game 1. "We can't show our hand early because. these are some good teams and we don't want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do".

After two close losses to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs, should the Pacers be more encouraged or discouraged? They finished the game a combined 26 points on 8-29 shooting.

While George lamented the Pacers' defensive efforts, the Cavs' Big 3 relished their role in creating this predicament for their opponent. "But we're right there on turning the switch on what we really can become".

But what James is to the Cavaliers goes far beyond numbers. Clearly, this team isn't complete and they've largely met expectations, which were middling from the start. In the regular season, they surely loved to play at home and that won't change in the playoffs.

Game three is in Indianapolis on Thursday (Friday AEST). Stephenson will be itching to play in his first playoff game at The Fieldhouse in almost three years. Cleveland players spent a lot of time looking around, waiting for someone else to stop the ball. At one point in the second quarter, before Irving seized control of the game and Love went on his personal run, James was playing conductor.