It look longer than many had expected. But the Cavaliers are onto the next round.
With a 105-98 win in Sunday’s Game 7 against the Pacers, Cleveland wins its first series 4-3 and will face the Raptors starting on Tuesday.
LeBron James led the way in the win, scoring 45 points to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists for his second 40-point game of the series. Tristan Thompson, inserted into the starting lineup, scoring 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Kevin Love added 15 points as well behind a 4-7 night on three-pointers.
The game got dicey for the Cavs in the fourth quarter, with James in the locker room due to cramping to start the quarter. But they were able to build a double-digit lead with him out and held onto that lead despite the Pacers getting as close as four points with under a minute to go and at the end of the game when Victor Oladipo hit a three-pointer on the final shot of the game.
Cavs’ lead went all the way down to two after they lead by 14 points at the half. Most importantly, LeBron James went back to the locker room near the end of the quarter and sat out the last minute-plus. Assuming he’s fine, but worth watching.
For a few minutes there, it looked like this might turn into a game. In a three-minute span, the Pacers cut the Cavs’ lead to down to four from 14. And then the Cavs responded, pushing their lead back up to as many as 14 points and taking an 11-point lead into halftime. The first half MVPs, by far, are LeBron James and Tristan Thompson.
Of note: LeBron might be playing the entire first half.
We just need to mic the LeBron family section. He just told them he's playing the whole game.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 29, 2018
Also: still no George Hill. Seems like he might not play today.
That quarter went about as well for the Cavaliers as they could have hoped. Tristan Thompson’s six points, seven rebounds (two on offense) and hard screens made a big difference in his starting role. Kevin Love was 1-5, but did make a three-pointer and the Cavs are working to get him better looks. And getting 13 points from LeBron James helps too, as does Victor Oladipo shooting 0-4 from the field. Cavs lead 31-19 after one and led by as many as 13 points in the quarter. No George Hill yet, however.
After losing by 34 points in Game 6 with a chance to close out the series, Cleveland gets a second shot on its home floor. George Hill might play, but it’s unclear if he’ll be good to go and the team likely won’t update his status until just before tipoff. The Cavs, though, will have LeBron James and having that guy always helps. Unclear what version of Kevin Love they’ll have show up, however.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch or listen to Sunday’s Game 7.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers, Game 7
When: 1 p.m.
TV: ABC, Fox Sports Ohio
Cavaliers status updates: George Hill (Back spasms - Questionable)
Radio: WTAM 1100, La Mega 87.7 (Cleveland)