Sun, Apr 22, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Pacers cut 17-point deficit to take 2-1 lead over Cavs

AP, INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana

The Indiana Pacers kept insisting this team was different.

Anyone who doubted them coming into the playoffs understands now.

On Friday, the one-year anniversary of a historic playoff collapse against Cleveland, Indiana flipped the script by rallying from a 17-point halftime deficit and held on for a 92-90 victory over the Cavaliers to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. They can take command of the series by winning today on their home court.

“Last year’s team, I don’t know if we would have gone down 17, I don’t know if we would have overcome it,” forward Thaddeus Young said. “But this team, we’ve been resilient all year. We’ve overcome adversity.”

And on Friday they did it against a Cavaliers team that was 39-0 in the regular season when leading after three quarters.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 of his playoff career-high 30 points in the second half, finishing 7 of 9 on 3-pointers. Victor Oladipo added 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

Bogdanovic also spent most of the game defending LeBron James, who finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and six turnovers. He joined Michael Jordan as the only players in league history with 100 double-doubles in the postseason. Jordan had 109.

James almost single-handedly rallied his team twice from seven-point deficits in the final three-and-a-half minutes.

The three-time defending Eastern Conference champs were outscored 52-33 over the final 24 minutes.

“We were more aggressive in the first half. We had tempo, they didn’t,” James said. “Then they were more aggressive in the second half, they had tempo, and we didn’t.”

After the Pacers cut the 57-40 halftime deficit to 69-63 at the end of three, the Pacers continued to apply pressure and eventually Bogdanovic finally broke through with a four-point play that gave Indiana an 81-77 lead with 6:10 left. It was Indiana’s first lead since midway through the first quarter.

He was far from finished.

Bogdanovic knocked down another 3 to make it a seven-point game.

Then, after James countered with seven straight to tie the score, Bogdanovic scored on a layup and hit his final 3 before Young’s layup made it 91-84 with 53 seconds to go.

James and Kevin Love made back-to-back 3s to make it 91-90, and Cleveland got one more chance after Darren Collison missed the second free throw with 5 seconds left, but J.R. Smith’s 38-foot heave came up short.

WIZARDS 122, RAPTORS 103

In Washington, Bradley Beal heeded his coach’s plea to “do his job” by scoring 21 of his 28 points in the first half, his All-Star backcourt running mate John Wall delivered 28 points and 14 assists, and Washington beat Toronto in an occasionally heated game to cut their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series deficit to 2-1.

After letting the Raptors grab the first 2-0 series lead in franchise history, the Wizards came home and checked off every box coach Scott Brooks presented. They got Beal more involved after he made only three shots in Game 2; they actually led after the first quarter, 30-29; they played with enough defensive focus to get produce 19 turnovers by Toronto, leading to 28 points for Washington. Add it all up, and it was a rare recent victory for Washington, who had lost seven of eight games dating to the regular season.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 23 points on 10-for-22 shooting one game after scoring 37, and Kyle Lowry had 19 points and eight assists.

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