Despite a fortunate miss at the buzzer and constant lulls late in games, the Cleveland Cavaliers are up two games to none on the Indiana Pacers as this series heads to The Fieldhouse for the first time on Thursday night.
This is also well represented by Kevin Love's explosion against Lance Stephenson in Game 2.
"It was a very poorly officiated basketball game", Fizdale fumed.
CLEVELAND (AP) - Blown big leads. I don't like teams that have really bad defensive habits.
I would also be a fan of at least trying to go under the screen on all LeBron James screens, and NEVER switching on these screens, not matter the matchup.
In the end, the Cavaliers picked up the intensity when it mattered most and James, a three-times National Basketball Association champion and four-times league Most Valuable Player, is choosing to stay focused on the positives rather fret about almost blowing another lead. And now the Pacers are two losses away from being eliminated by James' team for the fourth time in six years, the first three while James played for Miami. The Cavs are finding their groove. Lance is an emotional guy. "We'll figure it out". The Cavaliers point guard led all scorers with 37 points to help hosts Cleveland to a 117-111 win in their Eastern Conference first-round tie.
"My guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game - and they did not even give us a chance".
Kawhi Leonard finished with 37 points as the Spurs took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series at AT&T Center.
San Antonio led for all but 13 seconds in winning its 10th consecutive postseason game over Memphis.
Shumpert picked up a foul guarding George in his first 30 seconds on the floor before knocking down a 3-pointer from the corner, forcing in coach Nate McMillan to call time.
Cleveland's Kevin Love dominated Stephenson in the post, Love scoring easily and Stephenson picking up three fouls. They need to keep feeding their mismatch in Love, because the Pacers are going to try all they can to contain Bron and Ky, and hug the three point specialists.
"One NBA person said to me, 'The Cavs don't have to beat the Golden State Warriors in April".
"We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens".
But Love knocked down two free throws and C.J. Miles was whistled for an offensive foul, thwarting the Pacers' comeback.
Cavs guard J.R. Smith did not return for the second half because of a left hamstring injury.
According to NBA.com's Impact Insights, in the 18.5 minutes he was guarding him, Shumpert allowed George to make only three shots on 10 attempts.
"Shump was unbelievable", coach Tyronn Lue said. "We needed that spark". The bottom line is wins and losses, and in Game 2, George played with a combined passion and anger of a man clinging desperately to a dream that, at this point, even he must know is dead. "Lance, in our locker room, is looked upon as a leader". "Everybody knows we (Stephenson and I) have a strong relationship. A lot of it is just his heart and his competitiveness, but he's just got to channel that, and put it towards making effort plays on the court". He's been out since March 26 with a sprained left ankle.
A silver lining for the Pacers for Game 3: Cleveland had a losing record on the road this season (20-21). And as long as the Cavaliers are relying so heavily on offense to carry them forward, they'll need plenty more from him. A moment of silence was observed for Robert Godwin Sr., the 73-year-old tragically killed Sunday in Cleveland by a suspect who shot him and posted the killing on Facebook. George said Stephenson needs to "control himself", but did call him a "leader".
The Pacers went 29-19 at home.