9:35 p.m.- LEBRON JAMES LEADS CLEVELAND CAVALIERS TO GAME 2 WIN OVER INDIANA PACERS
CLEVELAND -- Since the end of Game 1 on Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland Cavaliers talked about needing more aggressiveness, especially out of small forward LeBron James, and the unquestioned on-court leader of the team responded in a big way in Game 2 at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night.
James led all scorers with 46 points, which helped the Cavaliers post a 100-97 victory over the Indiana Pacers and even the best-of-seven series at 1-1 heading into Friday night’s Game 3 matchup at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
While converting 17 of his 24 attempts from the field, including a pair of three-pointers and nine free throws, James pulled down 12 rebounds, handed out five assists, stole two passes and committed just three turnovers in the victory.
8:55 p.m.-CAVALIERS LEAD PACERS DESPITE THIRD-QUARTER STRUGGLES
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers struggled to find their rhythm offensively in the third quarter, but despite giving up a 15-5 scoring run, they held a 74-67 lead over the Indiana Pacers after 36 minutes play in Game 2 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers made only six of their 16 attempts from the field and two of their seven looks from three-point range.
Conversely, the Pacers knocked down nine of their 17 looks at the basket and outpaced the Cavaliers, 21-16, in the third quarter of play.
Plagued by early foul trouble, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo scored eight points on three-of-seven shooting from the field in 11 minutes of action in the third quarter.
8:46 p.m.-CLEVELAND BROWNS TYROD TAYLOR, JARVIS LANDRY IN THE HOUSE AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS PLAYOFF GAME
CLEVELAND -- After finishing their responsibilities in the offseason program, Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor and wide receiver Jarvis Landry made their way to Quicken Loans Arena where the Cleveland Cavaliers faced off against the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the opening round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs Wednesday night.
Taylor and Landry got quite the warm reception from the 20,562 fans inside The Q when they were shown on Humungotron late in the third quarter.
During his seven-year career with the Baltimore Ravens and Bills, Taylor completed 793 of his 1,271 attempts (62.4 percent) for 9,056 yards and 51 touchdowns against 18 interceptions. Of those 793 completions, 116 went for at least 20 yards and 22 more were 40-yard gains.
In his three seasons with the Bills, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Taylor completed 774 passes for 8,837 yards and 51 touchdowns against 16 interceptions.
Over his four-year career with the Dolphins, Landry turned 400 catches into 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns. He averaged 10.1 yards per catch and 63.1 yards per game to go along with 38 catches of at least 20 yards, seven 40-yard plays and 220 first downs.
The 5-foot-11, 208-pound Landry has two 110-catch seasons (2015, 2017) and two 1,100-yard years (2015, 2016) on his resume.
In 2015, Landry set a then-career high with 110 catches, which he turned into 1,157 yards and four touchdowns and averaged a personal-best 72.3 yards per game. He followed that up with a 94-catch, 1,136-yard, four-touchdown showing in 2016.
Last season, the Metairie, Louisiana native and Louisiana State product caught a career-high 112 passes for 987 yards and a personal-best nine touchdown receptions.
In the first two years of his NFL career, Landry returned 47 kickoffs for 1,275 yards, including 35 20-yard returns and five 40-yard bursts. Additionally, Landry has returned at least 12 punts in each of his first four seasons in the NFL, amassing 804 yards and one score on 89 returns.
Landry recently signed a five-year contract extension with the Browns.
8:20 p.m.-LEBRON JAMES THROWS DOWN RIDICULOUS DUNK FOR CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James punctuated an impressive first half in Game 2 in one of the most fitting ways he could, by throwing down a thunderous dunk that brought the faithful at Quicken Loans Arena to their feet as the clock counted down to zero.
With just 17.3 seconds remaining in the first half, James caught a one-handed pass from power forward Larry Nance Jr. while rolling to the hoop and threw down the crowd-pleasing slam, which gave the Cavaliers a 58-46 lead over the Indiana Pacers after two quarters of play.
That was far from the only dunk James had in the first half.
With 1:21 remaining in the second quarter, James stepped in the passing lane, intercepted the ball from forward Myles Turner at the three-point line and raced in for the right-handed jam.
29 points on a Cavs playoff record 12 made FGs
LeBron doing his part to even the series
58-46 Cleveland leads at half pic.twitter.com/mZeoDaqoED— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 19, 2018
Earlier in the second quarter, James caught a pass from guard Kyle Korver at the top of the key, drove past an Indiana defender and rose up in the lane for the right-handed slam.
LeBron rolls to the rim for the stuff!April 19, 2018
James scored 29 points, pulled down eight rebounds and assisted on four baskets in 20 minutes of action during the first half. He converted 12 of his 16 looks from the field, two of his four three-point tries and three shots at the free-throw line.
James had 13 points before anybody else on either team scored in Game 2.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, James’ 16 points in less than the first six minutes of play was the most any player has scored in the last 20 years.
7:45 p.m.-LARRY NANCE JR. HAS MONSTER BLOCK ON TREVOR BOOKER
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers traded for power forward Larry Nance Jr. because he was the type of young, athletic front-court player that could make a positive impact on both ends of the floor, and he lived up to that reputation early in the second quarter of Game 2 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night.
Pacers forward Trevor Booker was backing down a Cavaliers defender and went up for a shot after spinning toward the basket, but Nance was there in help-side and blocked the shot all the way out of bounds.
After outletting to point guard Cory Joseph on the left wing and getting a reentry pass a second later, Booker attempted a left-handed hook shot, but Nance timed his jump perfectly, high-pointed the ball and swatted it out of the air, much to the delight of the 20,562 fans in attendance at The Q.
7:41 p.m.-CAVALIERS DOMINATE PLAY IN FIRST QUARTER
CLEVELAND -- After a lackluster first-quarter effort in Game 1 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked like an entirely different team over the first 12 minutes of Game 2 at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday.
The Cavaliers converted 14 of their 21 attempts from the field (66.7 percent) and went five of 10 from three-point range (50 percent) on the way to a 33-18 lead over the Indiana Pacers in front of the home fans.
Small forward LeBron James finished the first quarter with a game-high 20 points, six rebounds and three assists. He converted nine of his 12 attempts from the field (75 percent), including two of his four tries from three-point range and was plus-15 despite playing all 12 minutes.
Plagued by shooting woes throughout much of Game 1, four players made three-point shots in the first quarter. James led the way with two triples, while center Kevin Love and guards Kyle Korver and Jose Calderon each tallied one make from three-point range.
7:14 p.m.-LEBRON SHOWS PLENTY OF AGGRESSIVENESS EARLY IN GAME 2
CLEVELAND -- For two days, Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James heard teammates and coaches talk about the need for him to ramp up his aggressiveness in Game 2 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and that is exactly what he did against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena.
In the first 78 seconds of Game 2, James scored all six points for the Cavaliers, who jumped out to a 6-0 lead and forced Indiana into calling a timeout.
Following the timeout, James pulled up for a three-pointer from the left wing and buried the deep jumper, which gave the Cavaliers a 9-0 advantage over the Pacers.
Then, on the next possession, James hit a fade-away jumper from the left of the free-throw lane, and that brought the fans in Quicken Loans Arena to their feet with chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P.”
James finished the first quarter with a game-high 20 points, six rebounds and three assists. He converted nine of his 12 attempts from the field (75 percent), including two of his four tries from three-point range and was plus-15 despite playing all 12 minutes.
5:30 p.m.-CAVALIERS LOOK TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE, ATTACKING IN GAME 2
CLEVELAND -- Following Sunday’s 98-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue talked about the team needing to be more aggressive in their approach on the offensive end of the floor.
After going through Game 1, where small forward LeBron James made his first field goal early in the second quarter, Lue believes the Cavaliers’ on-court leader will be much more in-tune offensively when Cleveland attempts to even up the series tonight.
“When he sets the tone early for us, we’re a really good team,” Lue said.
“Coming out, setting the tone early, being able to call plays early that feature him to be aggressive, you know he’s going to make the right play and the right pass, get guys involved. We’re going to need him to set the tone early, be aggressive with attacking the basket.”
Lue is not the only one who believes James will be on a mission when he takes the court tonight.
“I believe we’ll come out, especially on our home floor, more aggressive than we were in the first quarter in Game 1,” power forward Kevin Love said.
“The second through fourth quarters, we were better. There were times where we turned the ball over or settled into certain shots and mixed up some coverages, but we know what we have to do, and that’s come out and be more aggressive, and I fully expect ‘Bron to come out and set the tone on that end.”
James is one of many players the Cavaliers will be looking for an increased level of production out of in Game 2.
Although Love pulled down 17 rebounds, assisted on two baskets, stole a pass and blocked one shot in Game 1, he took only eight shots and made just three, all of which were three-pointers, on the way to nine points in the loss.
Love averaged 17.6 points and shot 45.8 percent from the field, including a 41.5 percent mark from three-point range, in 59 regular-season games.
“I think part of it’s on me to be more aggressive, just get post touches,” Love said. “A lot of the time, just knowing how people want to guard me and not leave me, whether it’s in the corner or up high spacing the floor, sometimes I fall into my own trap of just spacing every play.”
Lue is hopeful the improved aggressiveness from James and Love will be the difference maker for the Cavaliers in Game 2.
“I think the guys understand what it takes to win, to beat this team,” Lue said. “We’ve got to be aggressive. We’ve got to be more physical. We’ve got to own our space offensively.
“They picked us up full-court. They denied swing passes, denied elbow passes, so we’ve just got to be stronger with the ball. We can’t turn the ball over 17 times. We’ve got to be strong with the ball, own our space and we’ll be fine.”
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