CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers made enough improvements after their Game 1 win, and that allowed them to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series with the Indiana Pacers by virtue of a 117-111 Game 2 victory at Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers will look to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the Pacers when they head to Indianapolis for a Game 3 matchup at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse Thursday.
Cleveland Cavaliers take on Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of opening round of 2017 NBA Playoffs
Point guard Kyrie led the way for the Cavaliers with 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting from the field, including a four-of-10 mark from three-point range. Irving added two assists, two rebounds and one steal over 34 minutes on the floor.
The Cavaliers got double-doubles of points and rebounds from both small forward LeBron James and power forward Kevin Love. James tallied 25 points and corralled 10 rebounds, while Love added 27 points and pulled in 11 caroms in the win.
James added seven assists, while Love went six of seven from the field, including three of four from beyond the three-point arc and 12 of 12 at the free-throw line.
Reserve guard Deron Williams came off the bench to score nine points by knocking down three of his four looks from three-point range.
After missing 13 free throws in Game 1, the Cavaliers sunk 20 of their 23 looks from the charity stripe in Game 2.
A late surge from beyond the three-point arc staked the Cavaliers out a 32-29 lead over the Pacers after the first quarter of Game 2.
In the last 54 seconds of play, both reserve point guard Deron Williams and Love buried three-point shots from the right wing, two of the five the Cavaliers connected on over the first quarter of play.
As a team, the Cavaliers went five of seven from three-point range (71.4 percent) and 12 of 21 from the field (57.1 percent) in the first quarter.
Love led the way for the Cavaliers with 10 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter. He was perfect shooting the ball, knocking down all three of his shots from the field, including a pair of triples, and both of his free-throw attempts late in the period.
Cavaliers small forward LeBron James added six points, two rebounds and two assists in the first.
The end of the first quarter was the exact opposite of what happened in the early going, as the Pacers, particularly small forward Paul George, started out hot from the field.
George buried a pair of three-pointers in the first three minutes, the second of which gave the Pacers a 9-4 lead and forced the Cavaliers to burn a timeout. Additionally, point guard Jeff Teague scored eight points, handed out three assists and corralled a pair of rebounds in the opening frame.
After finishing the first quarter strong offensively, the Cavaliers continued to shoot well from the field and three-point range in the second period, which resulted in a 63-58 lead over the Pacers at halftime of Game 2.
In the second quarter, the Cavaliers got a lift from the long-distance shooting of Williams and backup power forward Channing Frye. Williams buried a pair of three-pointers in relief of Irving and Frye added a triple of his own that gave the Cavaliers a game-high 13-point lead, 46-33, with 7:45 to play in the half.
The Cavaliers started the second quarter on an 8-0 run and when small forward LeBron James threw down a dunk after double-clutching the ball in mid-air, they pushed the lead over the Pacers out to double digits, 40-29. The run forced the Pacers to call a timeout.
Although the Cavaliers would push the advantage out to 13 points when Williams and Frye knocked down three-pointers on back-to-back possessions, the Pacers clipped away the deficit by consistently attacking the basket.
George led the way for the Pacers with 18 first-half points, eight of which came in the second quarter.
The Cavaliers converted 11 of their 18 looks from the field in the third quarter and built an 18-point lead, 96-78, over the Pacers after 36 minutes of play in Game 2.
Although the Cavaliers knocked down only three of their nine attempts from three-point range in the quarter, Irving hit a heavily-defended step-back triple from the top of the key as the clock was winding down and put the lead back up to 18 heading into the final frame.
While Irving hit the final shot of the quarter, the Cavaliers made a concerted effort to reestablish Kevin Love in the low post, and that plan worked well, as he scored 10 points and drew a handful of Indiana fouls on both ends of the floor.
Love hit a pair of shots and all six of his free-throw attempts over a two-minute stretch that helped the Cavaliers balloon the lead to 19, 89-70. Also, he drew a charge against Kevin Seraphin.