A Cavaliers win and vintage performance from LeBron James feels a little empty in the wake of a blown lead and Kevin Love’s injury.
LeBron James: A
James wasn’t perfect in this game with some mediocre rim protection in help defense, but that’s about it. Other than that, he was sublime. He scored the first 16 points of the game, finished with 46 points and 12 active rebounds (he battled as the true PF) and did whatever he wanted on-ball, off-ball, and finished in transition as well. Just a virtuoso “I’m not losing this game” performance.
Kevin Love: B-
Love could use a more efficient night from the field, but hit some must-have buckets with LeBron on the bench on post-ups. He was active on defense and helped around the rim and held his own defensively in the pick and roll with active hands. A better game than his box score showed, but the Cavs really need him to more as an active star on the team, and that starts with getting him more involved in the flow of the offense. LeBron has too much on his plate at the moment.
George Hill: C+
Fouling out in 20 minutes is a tough look for Hill, but he played well when he was on the court. The Cavaliers really miss him when he’s not on the floor, as Jose Calderon cannot always be counted on for long stretches.
Jeff Green: D
This might just not be the series for Green. He scored two points in his 13 minutes, played mediocre defense and failed to make any positive impact. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if Tristan Thompson got some of his minutes moving forward.
Rodney Hood: D+
Hood’s two turnovers were absolutely awful instances of dribbling the ball off his own feet. He is going to struggle to find a role in these playoffs if he can’t be trusted to run basic pick and roll in traffic. The Pacers hard-charging style is an especially bad matchup, but he has to prove baseline competence if he’s going to be counted on moving forward.
Larry Nance Jr.: C
Nance didn’t have as strong of a day as he did in Game 1 on either end of the floor. He struggled to guard in the pick and roll and didn’t make much impact offensively either. His looks out of the high post as a facilitator seem to generate good shots for the Cavaliers more often than not. That can be a well they go to when LeBron sits.
Jordan Clarkson: C-
Yet another new member in the Cavaliers rotation really continued to struggle in the postseason. Clarkson hasn’t had any incendiary moments in the playoffs amid a tough matchup with a high-pressure guard in Cory Joseph on defense, but his lack of punch offensively has been a disappointment.
Jose Calderon: C
Calderon had a bounce back game while also struggling with foul trouble while dealing with the Cavaliers switch-heavy schemes. He only had five points, but played slightly better than his box score, if not spectacularly.
Kyle Korver: B+
Korver got the start and continued to show that he’s fairly unstoppable when he gets to play in lineups alongside LeBron James. He hit four threes in this game and aided spacing while LeBron devastated the Pacers on the interior. He also made a few clutch defensive plays with his always-surprisingly-fast hands. Korver was one of the few role players who has looked up to the challenge for these Cavaliers.
J.R. Smith: B-
J.R. didn’t hit a three and only scored five points, but he played better defense than he had at any point as of late, coming up with two steals and a block, including a critical steal late against Victor Oladipo at half court. He wasn’t amazing, but he certainly was one of the only players Tyronn Lue felt he could count on.