Basketball

Cavs beat Pacers in opening game of play-offs

The NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers escaped with a 109-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers in the opening game of the play-offs yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Indiana's CJ Miles missed a wide-open jump shot at the buzzer after the Cavaliers, as they often did in the waning stages of the regular season, let the game get complicated towards the end.

"It doesn't matter how you get a win in the play-offs. We're one-up," said Cavs superstar LeBron James, who led all scorers with 32 points and also handed out 13 assists and pulled down six rebounds.

James has now won 18 play-off openers, but he and the Cavs cut it close in this one.

James missed a three-pointer with 20 seconds left and the Pacers had the ball coming out of a time-out.

Miles got loose, but his effort bounced off the rim.

Pacers star Paul George finished with 29 points. His three-pointer with four seconds left had cut the Cavs' lead to one point, setting the stage for Miles' attempt at a game-winner.

George complained after the game that he should have been the one to attempt the game-winner.

"Situations like that, I gotta get the last shot," he said.

Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and Kevin Love added 17, 15 of them in the first half for Cleveland, who were 10 points up with 9:04 remaining before the Pacers rallied.

Jeff Teague's three-pointer with 3:31 to play put the Pacers up by two - after six straight empty possessions for the Cavs.

But James immediately responded with a driving dunk and the Pacers wouldn't get ahead again.

Elsewhere yesterday morning, Kawhi Leonard equalled his career play-off high with 32 points as the San Antonio Spurs strolled to a 111-82 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference series.

The Spurs are making their 20th straight post-season appearance, tied for third all-time. - AFP


OTHER RESULTS

  • Toronto 83 Milwaukee 97, 
LA Clippers 95 Utah 97
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