Pacers overturn 22-pt deficit to beat Cavs

LeBron James

LeBron James

With about 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Lance and LeBron rivalry was slightly reignited.

The Indiana Pacers fought back from a 22-point first half deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 97-95.

Houston's James Harden has a very comfortable lead over Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo in the scoring race, and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (who could average a triple-double again) has about a one-assist-per-game lead over Harden and Washington's John Wall in the battle for the assist title.

It certainly doesn't help that the Pacers were 1-of-18 from 3-point range in the Miami loss.

LeBron James isn't throwing his sneakers over the telephone wire just yet, although not for the reason people may think. LeBron received a technical foul for shoving Stephenson during a dead ball. You often forget the contributions he makes as Oladipo and Stephenson grab the spotlight. He made play after play down the stretch and when the game was over the Pacers' showman was celebrating. That's why he's Lance. "When he plays like that, he's huge for us". After the game, he described Stephenson as a "dirty" player.

Stephenson on the road has not been almost as dynamic as Stephenson at home.

He is one of the highest leapers and most explosive dunkers in the league, a reputation that preceded him before he'd played his first pro game. He finished with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, while Kevin Love had 21 points and 10 rebounds. "When he's out, we have to execute better at both ends".

"I should have known, it's not the guy who tells the joke that gets caught it's the guy who laughs", James said. "We've got a tough road trip coming up". And we have to get out of our individual whatever we're going through.

James recorded a career-worst minus-39 rating in the loss to the Timberwolves and was minus-22 on Thursday with just one assist as Cleveland's defense was non-existent in the first half.

Despite the Cavs' recent shooting woes (38.2 percent vs. Toronto), Pacers coach Nate McMillan said defense will be crucial. Myles Turner missed his second consecutive game but could return against the Suns. It most certainly didn't go that way. That's a small frontcourt by National Basketball Association standards, but Stephenson was physical enough to make it work. It's no secret that Cleveland at time looks lackadaisical during the seasons, generally playing disinterested. "We were able to get stops, rebounds and score with that group".

It was a rough start for the Pacers in this game. Chriss is not expected to play against IN, and reserve small forward Josh Jackson (hip) is questionable. Led by seven players finishing in double figures, the home team controlled the pace for nearly the entire game, providing their starters an early finish to their night in the fourth quarter.