Kevin Love and the rest of LeBron's teammates James Cavaliers need to be more proactive if Cleveland gets past the Pacers. (Tony Dejak / AP)
The first round of the NBA playoffs continues this evening with three more crucial Game 3s. Follow here for the latest analysis and commentary from NBA reporter Tim Bontemps of The Post and ask him questions in the comments. Experience the games of last night here.
Timetable and results | Read foreplay |
Beal Commits to Wizards
There was a lot of talk about Wizards Bradley Beal getting more – and needed, after he was only 11 in Game 2.
Mission to date
Beal has shot three shots in Washington in the early minutes of the game and is embroiled in the action. This is a good sign for the Wizards fighting for their playoff lives.
And while it's early, Marcin Gortat already has four points and four rebounds, giving coach Scott Brooks' decision not to be small, credibility 3.
Cleveland Champions Can Close Quarter
The way teams are close to one another often determines how games run. By half in Indianapolis, the Cavaliers have a huge edge in this division.
Over the final 5:55 of the first quarter, Cleveland went on a 16-5 run. And in the last 4:45 of the second quarter Cleveland went on a 10-2 run.
This is a plus-19 Cleveland in these two sections of the game and builds the entirety of the Cavaliers' 57-40 Halftime
More important than the riots for Cleveland: the continuation of the production of the "Other." Kevin Love leads all scorers with 16 points while George Hill has 11. As a team, Cleveland 5 is ten out of three.
Meanwhile, Indiana have not gotten anything from Victor Oladipo, who has five points in 2-for-6 shots and four turnovers in 17 first-half minutes. Only Thaddeus Young (11 points) is in a double step for the Pacers.
Pacers Must Cleans It
The Pacers are extremely happy that their tendency to spin the ball has not cost them more.
Indiana has already given the ball 10 times. But Cleveland did not manage to get just eight points from these sales. Given the fact that the cavaliers have already risen by 13 points, it could be much worse.
The Pacers hung around because they shot a total of 50 percent and made four threes, but if they do not clean up the mistakes, it will be extremely difficult for them to win.
Love does its part
In the first quarter, a close-up of Kevin Love's hand showed a lot of bruising around his left thumb, caused by a partial torn ligament in the fourth quarter of Game 2.
But apart from the fact that he wanted to get a little outdoors, so far, Love has looked so good in Game 3 and has scored 13 points in the first two games of the series after a combined 5-7 game.
More importantly, this Love-anchored second unit has allowed James to take a longer break on the bench to begin the second quarter.
LeBron gets a lot of help
The theme that came into Game 3 for the Cavaliers was to get more production from the players around LeBron James.
By a quarter? Mission accomplished
The Cavaliers led at the beginning of the second quarter 35-25 and overtook the Indiana Pacers 16-5 to finish the first and 23 of their 31 points from non-LeBron players.
Refs calls it tight Indy
Something that oversees the progress in Cavs-Pacers Game 3: The fast whistle of the referee
Six boards in the first three minutes of the match – Indiana Bojan Bogdanovic and Cleveland's Kyle Korver picked up every two and eleven minutes after nine minutes, it is clear that the referees are trying to call in this one point.
It is equally divided on both sides, but early fouls add later in the game.
Indiana, meanwhile, is fortunate that even though they have already made six sales, they have only gotten three points from them.
Hill the first Cav who helps LeBron on the offensive
George Hill had a very revealing quote in an interview with ESPN in court Lisa Salters wh He asked about his role in Cleveland, two months after arriving on a trading day ,
"I do not know," said Hill. "I'm still trying to find out."
It was an honest quote, but one that stands for a Cavaliers team that has been in the flow all season, and certainly looked like that in the first two games of the series.
However, Hill obviously tried to be more aggressive in Game 3. After a total of 10 shots and 13 points in the two games of this series, he has already scored three shots and four foul shots (three) to score nine of Cleveland's 17 points early in the game.
As LeBron James and The Cleveland Cavaliers prepare on Friday night in Indianapolis for Game 3 of their first round with the Pacers. The question that could decide the outcome of this series is obvious: Will James get help?
Through two games, he has not. James was sensational, especially when he scored 46 of Clevleand's 100 points in his Game 2 win. The rest of the cavaliers? Not so much.
As ESPN's Brian Windhorst pointed out on Friday, the second-best scorer in two games behind James' combined points? Kevin Love, with 24. The next five scorers in the regular season behind James – Love, Kyle Korver, Jordan Clarkson, Jeff Green and Rodney Hood – have combined to shoot 22-for-68 off the floor overall in the series including 11 -for-35 of three. Remove Love and Korver, and the numbers for the remaining three are even worse: 10-for-33 in total and 2-for-13 of three.
The Cavaliers ranked 29th in the NBA in defensive efficiency during the regular season, which means under-average offensive performances just will not cut it. Cleveland must be great on offense to reach the fourth NBA finals in a row.
In fact, the Cavs just have to be great to get out of the first round. So far, this quality has not escaped them.
Cleveland took a step in the right direction in Game 2 as coach Tyrann Lue went on a full offensive starting grid with George Hill, J.R. Smith, Korver, James and Love. This quintet will not stop anyone, but no Cavaliers lineup. What this lineup will do, however, is the score.
In the 16 minutes this grouping played together in Game 2, the Cavaliers outperformed the Pacers by 50-29, outperforming them in the remaining 32 minutes, 68-50, which is far from ideal but at least they found something that works.
It will take you to continue in Game 3 and beyond, even as the series moves from the friendly environment of Quicken Loans Arena to the hostile area of banker Life Fieldhouse. Otherwise, the possibility ends that James will not only finish his consecutive NBA Finals at seven, but will be off the first lap for the first time in his 15-year career.
Cavs Dressed for Success
19659047] In an interesting show of unity prior to Game 3 of their first round, the Cleveland Cavaliers showed everyone at Bankers Life Fieldhouse the same outfit: gray suits with a gray vest and black boots.
The Outfits, by ESPNs Lisa Salters, were gifts from LeBron James to his teammates by designer Thom Browne. We'll see if it leads to a better production of the rest of the Cavaliers after the lackluster performances in the first two games of the series.
The Sorcerers Stand With the Lineup
It's not surprising that Scott Brooks would opt out for changing his starting grid for Game 3, though the Wizards' success in Game 2 is small. The Toronto Raptors will continue to run Jonas Valanciunas and Marcin Gortat remains one of the league's best screeners.
But it's a bold call to Brooks' role and one that should pay off better.
As my colleague Candace Buckner has written, the Raptors have owned the first quarter of this series to date, a big reason why Toronto leads 2: 0. Washington needs to change that to create a competitive series.
Changing the grid would have been an option to try this. Brooks passed. Now we will find out if he was right.
Curry has cleared for a limited exercise
The Golden State Warriors got some good news on Friday with the revelation that Stephen Curry was reevaluated and started to participate in limited parts of the practice.
Curry, who missed the last 13 games since JaVale McGee fell in his leg and caused an MCL sprain on his left knee on March 23, continues "since the injury," according to a statement from the team
As a result, the Warriors said that Curry would begin participating in "modified team exercises" starting Saturday and that the intensity of his rehab program would continue to increase. Most notably, the team said Curry would be re-evaluated again a week from Friday, which, conveniently, will mark either a day or two before the likely start date of the Golden States conference semi-finals series.
Because both the Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans beat their respective opponents 3-0, the overwhelming likelihood is that both will go far beyond the necessary seven games. This brings their next series either Saturday or Sunday the next week, with game 2 Monday or Tuesday before a long gap between Game 2 and Game 3 that would come the following weekend in New Orleans.
Under such a scenario, Curry would be able to be evaluated before Game 1 – and potentially reset. Athletic's Marcus Thompson reported that Curry would need the full six weeks to come back from his injury, which would keep him out of the first two games and press a Return to New Orleans the following weekend.
Provided Golden State takes care of the business in Game 4 on Sunday, the Warriors will spend the next week watching Curry's moves and waiting for their superstar point guards to get back with them Search for a second consecutive title and a third in four seasons.
Schedule and Results from Friday :
- Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers (Series 1-1); 7 pm, ESPN
- Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards (Raptors run 2-0); 8 pm, ESPN2
- Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks (Celtics run 2-0); 9.30pm, ESPN
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