Basketball

Pacers rally to curb Cavaliers

Indiana take 2-1 lead in first-round play-off series

Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic scored 30 points to lift the Pacers to 92-90 come-from-behind victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday morning (Singapore time) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Bogdanovic scored 15 in the fourth quarter as the Pacers overcame a 17-point half-time deficit to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round play-off series. Game 4 will be Monday morning in Indianapolis.

Bogdanovic hit 11 of 15 shots, including seven of nine three-point attempts. Victor Oladipo scored 18 for the Pacers, hitting five of 15 shots and seven of eight free-throws.

LeBron James scored 28 points on 10-of-22 shooting and also posted game highs of 12 rebounds and eight assists. Kevin Love added 19 points on seven-of-13 shooting.

After three-pointers by James and Love cut the Pacers’ edge to 91-90 with 7.7 seconds to go, Pacers guard Darren Collison hit the first of two free-throws with five seconds left. JR Smith missed a game-winning three-point attempt at the buzzer.

The Pacers started the third quarter with a 13-4 edge to cut the Cavaliers’lead to 61-53 with 6:24 left. Cleveland led 69-63 after three quarters. The Cavaliers were 5 of 19 from the field in the third quarter while the Pacers were nine of 19.

Bogdanovic’s three-pointer cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 75-73. Oladipo hit two free-throws with 8:38 to go to tie it at 75-all. With the scored tied at 77-all, Bogdanovic converted a four-point play after being fouled on a three-pointer to give Indiana their first lead at 81-77 with 6:01 left in the fourth quarter.

After Cleveland threw the ball away, Bogdanovic sank another three-pointer.

Back-to-back three-pointers by James closed the gap to 84-83. After James hit one of two free-throws, the Pacers went on a 7-0 run, started by Bogdanovic’s driving lay-up and followed by his 30-foot three-pointer.

The Pacers shot 46.6 percent while the Cavaliers hit 44.2 percent.

Love, who reportedly partially tore a ligament in his left thumb in Game 2, scored 16 as Cleveland dominated with a 57-40 advantage at half-time. Love sank a three-pointer with 39 seconds remaining in the half to give the Cavs the 17-point margin, their largest of the half. Cleveland shot 53.8 per cent in the first half while the Pacers hit 45.7 per cent.

Bogdanovic picked up two fouls in the first three minutes, but came back to lead Indiana with 11 points in the first half. – REUTERS

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