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

Love chipped in 25 as Cleveland took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series with the seventh-seeded Pacers. In a fragile locker room, perhaps it's not the best idea to choose the middle of a playoff series as the time to start telling it like it is. George has made at least one 3-pointer in 19 consecutive playoff games.

The Pacers were led by 32 points from Paul George.

Those two were really the ones that paved the way for IN offensively-George finished with 32 and Teague had 23.

The Cavs still led 109-91 with 6:09 left, but the Pacers ripped off 13 straight points and were within 113-109 when George hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left.

As mentioned above, Cleveland was a well-oiled machine offensively. "Once you get going, your auto feels like a 2016 Lexus or something". Cleveland's backers have maintained it will figure things out once the games begin to matter, and that by ratcheting up the intensity and effort - not to mention any secret plans - things will change once the playoffs begin. But Irving torched Teague even more frequently, finishing with 37 points.

LeBron James finished three assists shy of a triple-double and even after 42 minutes of play, was flying around the defensive end grabbing rebounds and blocking shots to secure the victory.

"If they let me play, I'll play". The guard had no answer for the larger Love, and repeatedly fouled him, sending him to the line where he made all of his free throws. On Monday night, the Cavs flipped the switch. When pressed further, Lue didn't want to blame the isolation plays and lack of ball movement as much as the Cavs just not taking care of the ball. Shump sparked that, made a couple shots for us also. The Pacers knew they would have to take advantage of their chances, and yet they have messed up in every way imaginable.

While losing Smith would hardly be a blessing in disguise, the new sign of life for Shumpert is a refreshing sight for the Cavs and he proved his worth when he's got a pep in his step.

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George's comments about Stephenson, however, appear to be in good faith. He hasn't been sidestepping anything.

"It's you guys writing us off that this game is going to be easy for the Cavs", George said.

Not every player takes criticism the same way, so it'll be interesting to see how IN responds to their leader.

Following Indiana's 117-111 loss Monday night and facing a 0-2 deficit, George fired shots at Lance Stephenson and Myles Turner. If they see it as more of a knock than motivation, it'll be a different story. That can be demoralizing for a group that's scratching and clawing against the defending champions. This has bad ramifications for the Pacers and their future, and should be cause for alarm for the Cavs as well. The big man averaged 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in the regular season. They also had six costly miscues that the Cavs turned into nine points. They know they can compete.

Game 3 will be one where Turner responds emphatically to George's words.

The Spurs responded to another late-game meltdown as they have all season: relying on a little 3-point shooting and a whole lot of Kawhi Leonard. We had to try to deny entry to anyone who was in the post, but we really did a bad job of allowing Love to catch it.

IN will welcome the change of venue for Game 3 and may receive a boost if J.R. Smith remains limited or sidelined by a hamstring injury that kept him out for the closing portion of Game 2.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drive against Indiana Pacers' Paul George (13) in the first half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 17, 2017, in Cleveland.

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