Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Cavs blow 22-point lead vs. Pacers, lose third straight


After falling into a 22-point deficit after a dismal first quarter, IN mounted a magical rally against their long-time nemesis LeBron James and the Cavaliers, taking the lead again IN the closing seconds of the third quarter and moved IN front for good on Victor Oladipo's 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining IN the fourth quarter. They were also 6-4 in their last 10 games heading into the second half of the regular season.

While the Warriors sit atop the Western Conference standings, the Raptors are only three games behind the Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Stephenson's career bottomed after those matchups as he bounced between five different teams before rediscovering his game with the Pacers.

If the Raptors' rout of the rival Cleveland Cavaliers was a clash of styles, then their game Saturday against the visiting Golden State Warriors will be more like the students taking on the masters.

The Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors meet Saturday in National Basketball Association action at the Air Canada Centre.

It was an unexpected blowout considering the Raptors were missing an injured Kyle Lowry and a suspended Serge Ibaka. James scored 26 points in this loss, while Isaiah Thomas missed his first 11 shots.

Lance Stephenson finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers who improved to 22-20 on the season in front of a crowd of 17,900 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.

That's the kind of latitude seven straight finals trips allows - just as Toronto's repeated failures in the playoffs the last four years means no one will give them the benefit of the doubt that they can duplicate Thursday's performance for an extended period in the post-season. The first two came by a combined 62 points and on Friday the Cavs were outscored 84-61 over the final three quarters on the second night of back-to-back road games. But given the team's recent struggles, it may be time for a change. On this night, the Cavs were done in by a scoreless stretch of 3:20 in the second quarter when the Raptors went on an 11-0 run to take a 55-34 lead.

Down six points with only four minutes left is nothing to these Pacers though, who have comeback from worse with frequency.

IN played without starting center Myles Turner for the second straight game. Overall, they're 29-11 and hold a 3.5 game lead over the Cavaliers for the second-seed. DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 19 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 25 points for New Orleans.

Players are also reportedly grumbling about head coach Tyronn Lue's lineups.

"If guys have agendas", Lue said, "we've got to get rid of our agendas and play the right way".

It's a chance to get things back on track for one game, regardless of what they've been going through.

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