Here’s what happened on day three of the 2017 NBA Playoffs:
CLE 117 – IND 111, CLE leads series 2-0
The Cavaliers don’t need to worry about defense. Not when the Big Three is clicking, at least.
The defending champs turned in another so-so defensive effort, but it hardly mattered, as LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving, were all on fire against their Indiana counterparts.
Irving bounced back from a poor shooting night in game one to pour in 37 markers on a 14-of-24 clip. Kevin Love feasted down low, beating up Lance Stephenson on several possessions (no, we have no idea either why the Pacers thought that was a good idea), en route to 27 markers and 11 boards. LeBron James was good for 25 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, and 4 blocks, although he did commit 10 turnovers.
The Cavs led by as much as 19 points, but kept the door open for a Pacers comeback. It was just a five-point game after Paul George free throws, 111-106, 1:47 still to play. Cleveland got the ball back after both sides exchanged misses, then scored via a baseline out of bounds play by Irving, pushing their cushion back to seven, just 29.6 seconds to go. George nailed another triple for a 113-109 tally, 19.5 seconds left, but Love and Irving sealed this one from the stripe.
George mustered 32 points on 50 percent shooting with eight rebounds and seven assists in the loss. Jeff Teague added 23 markers, four boards, and four dimes.
SAS 96 – MEM 82, SAS leads series 2-0
After setting a new career postseason scoring high in game one, Kawhi Leonard repeated the feat, bumping his best number up to 37 points, as the Spurs beat back a Grizzlies rally try in the fourth quarter.
San Antonio led by as much as 26 points on Leonard charities, 56-30 in the second period, before settling for a 56-37 lead at the break. Memphis however kept pushing back, and pulled all the way to within four, 75-71, early in the fourth, via an and-one play by Marc Gasol.
It was a five-point game, 80-75, with 6:43 still to play in the game, but that was when the Spurs decided it was time to put things away. San Antonio punched back with 10 unanswered points for a 90-75 buffer, 3:20 to go, sealing the deal on this one.
Leonard’s 37 points came on a 9-of-14 FG clip, plus a perfect 19-of-19 line from the free throw stripe. He also had 11 rebounds. Tony Parker continued to look terrific with 15 points, nine coming from beyond the arc. LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Mike Conley led Memphis with 24 points and eight assists. Zach Randolph had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Marc Gasol and Vince Carter contributed 12 markers each.
Memphis Coach Dave Fizdale had this to say after the game:
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