Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

LeBron feels Cavaliers are close to 'turning the switch'

LeBron feels Cavaliers are close to 'turning the switch'

The Cavaliers were up by 18 points in the final quarter but relaxed and let the Pacers get to within four points in the final minute. He needs to know at this point he has to take it to the next level.

Monday marked the first time Cleveland's big three of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Irving all scored 25 or more points in one playoff game as teammates.

However, the defending champions, following a pattern that began late in the regular season, almost gave away an 18-point lead in the 4th as the Pacers crawled within 4 in the final minute before Cleveland closed it out.

But if the Cavaliers are going to accomplish their only true goal - repeating as National Basketball Association champions - they are going to have to, at some point, start playing defense.

The Cavs hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series heading to in for Game 3 on Thursday night.

A silver lining for the Pacers for Game 3: Cleveland had a losing record on the road this season (20-21).

James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and even the triple-double doesn't tell the whole story.

"We knew we had to take (some) punches, but it was a flurry, more than we expected", James said.

"I talked to C.J. about that", George said. "We have to keep that up every single night". Nineteen turnovers for 24 points. Cleveland's backers have maintained it will figure things out once the games begin to matter, and that by ratcheting up the intensity and effort - not to mention any secret plans - things will change once the playoffs begin.

"We have so many pieces on this team, but everyone has to stay ready", Irving said.

No team until the Cavs did it ever recovered from a 25-point halftime deficit to win in the playoffs until the Cavs did it - just as no team ever came back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals until the Cavs did it past year. "Shump (Iman Shumpert) came in and gave us some more aggressiveness on the ball with PG (Paul George) and our bigs, Tristan (Thompson) and Kev did a great job of rotating and putting two on the ball and myself and Ky on the back side we just tried to read and react".

Kawhi Leonard finished with 37 points as the Spurs took a 2-0 series lead at the AT&T Centre.

FILE - In this March 14, 2017, file photo, Indiana Pacers' Paul George (13) reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, in New York. A series of missed free throws resulted for the Cavs' lead to be narrowed while Pacers shooting guard, Lance Stephenson nearly made every shot he attempted on the fourth quarter. Overall we shot ball in the paint 35 times and we had 15 free throws - for the game. They also played much better defense, harassing the Spurs into missing 11 of their first 17 in the quarter. "Explain it to me".

They also got an assist from the officials, according to Memphis coach David Fizdale. So we had to match them, or otherwise we were going to get pummeled. That's unacceptable. That's unprofessional. He missed three months with a fractured right thumb and was visibly frustrated by the latest setback when he returned to the bench after the third quarter started.

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