Pacers' George tried to motivate, not denigrate

Irving scores 37, Cavs hold on to beat Pacers 117-111

But now that the Cavs have taken a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference series with the Indiana Pacers, things seem to be settling as they should for LeBron James and company as they hit the road Thursday to face the Pacers for Game 3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Thaddeus Young is mobile enough to cover Love on the perimeter, but he still has a hard time keeping up with the Cavaliers' ball movement when they find their rhythm and ping passes all around the court. So how can the Pacers hide Thad on defense?

Turner, the second-year center, has been schooled by Cavs center Tristan Thompson.

Pacers: Glenn Robinson III returned after missing the past 12 games with a strained left calf.

Still, George's sharp, direct complaints after the first two games caught some off guard. In total, he has 44 points on a mere 16 field goal attempts. He ended the night with 41 points on 14-for-27 shooting (6-for-12 from three), 13 rebounds, and 12 assists.

So far, there is absolutely no reason to believe the team that spent the final two months of the regular season assuring everyone it would flip a switch and begin playing defense once the playoffs began has that capability, particularly near the level necessary to win another title.

Kevin Love, outside of an extended injury layoff in February and March, has had a fine season but his mere Very Goodness is as much of a problem as it has ever been. They shot 18 times and had 32 free throws.

I would also be a fan of at least trying to go under the screen on all LeBron James screens, and NEVER switching on these screens, not matter the matchup.

Here, the Cavaliers don't even do anything complicated. "At halftime, I was just looking at the guys and telling them 'Let's get a couple stops'". But the Cavs have Friday and Saturday off, and they'll come back Sunday with the opportunity to either close things out or have an elimination game at home early next week. Clearly, this team isn't complete and they've largely met expectations, which were middling from the start. They held out to leave the Pacers with it all to do. "First half we had 19 shots in the paint and had six free throws".

"Lance got excited because he made a couple shots and was talking stuff to the bench".

When Love wasn't burying his hook shots easily, he was drawing fouls instead.

The Pacers tried using Stephenson's strength against Love, and...it really didn't work.

Deeper into the fourth quarter it got, with the Cavs getting closer, and closer, and closer to closing the gap that IN had built.

Take a look at these post-up scores from Game 1 as well. The trio combined to pour in 89 of Cleveland's 117 points, led by Irving's 37 - though no other Cavaliers player managed to crack double figures on the scoring ledger. "I trust the guys on that floor, but I just thought - you know, I watched it kind of unravel - that's when I should have stepped in and demanded the ball a little bit more", he said. But those flaws stand out particularly strongly in a year when the Cavs will need to be close to flawless in order to repeat as champions against a positively cooking Warriors squad and in a year when his Eastern Conference competition is stronger than it has been since Paul Pierce was at the tail end of his prime and Joakim Noah was walking without a limp. "When we turn the basketball over, we can't get back".

Related:

Comments


Other news