LOS ANGELES: LeBron James led a fourth-quarter assault as the Cleveland Cavaliers set a playoff record by storming back from a 25-point halftime deficit to defeat the Indiana Pacers 119-114 on Thursday.
James tallied 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for the Cavaliers who seized a 3-0 lead in the best of seven Eastern Conference first-round series.
James passed Kobe Bryant for number three on the league’s career playoff scoring list and tied another NBA record by winning his 20th consecutive first-round game.
James delivered 28 second-half points as he took over the contest in the fourth quarter.
The Cavaliers scored 70 points to just 40 for the Pacers in the second half. Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving and Channing Frye each scored 13 points for Cleveland while Kyle Korver added 12.
Pacers forward Paul George scored 36 points, including 21 alone in the second quarter. But George couldn’t keep pace with James and Cavaliers over the last two quarters.
Jeff Teague added 15 for Indiana, and Lance Stephenson scored 13 for the Pacers. George also finished with 15 rebounds and nine assists.
Indiana led by 10 after one quarter. They built a 50-36 lead with just under six minutes left in the second quarter and went on to lead 74-49 at the half.
The 74 first-half points are the Pacers’s most this season, surpassing the 68 they scored in the first half on April 8 at Orlando.
Indiana shot 56.8 percent in the first half and the Pacers’s non-starters outscored the Cavaliers’s reserves 28-8.--AFP