LeBron James logs triple-double as Cleveland Cavaliers beat Indiana Pacers in two OTs

By The Sports Xchange  |  April 3, 2017 at 12:59 AM
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CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers could not stop Paul George.

Fortunately for them, they didn't need to.

The Indiana forward put up 19 of his 43 points in two overtime sessions Sunday night, but it was LeBron James and the Cavaliers who won the game, 135-130, over the Pacers.

James wasn't bad himself -- he scored 41 points to go with 16 rebounds and 11 assists for his 11th triple-double this season and the 53rd of his career. But he scored just three points after the fourth quarter and logged a grueling 52 minutes.

George scored 13 points in the second overtime alone. They were the first 13 points of the period for the Pacers, which included two 3-pointers and an old-fashioned three-point play.

But after James and George traded 3-pointers with less than one minute left, Kevin Love (20 points) buried a trey with 26.5 seconds to go for a 131-127 advantage.

The Cavs (49-27) remain a half-game behind the Celtics (50-27) for first place in the East, and Cleveland plays at Boston on Wednesday night.

The Pacers (37-40) lost their fourth straight and fell for the sixth time in seven games. They are tied with the Miami Heat (37-40) for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

"Yeah, I haven't played that many minutes in a long time, probably since a playoff game, I would think," James said. "And I'm guarding PG the whole time, guarding him off pick-and-rolls, guarding him off triple pin-downs, guarding him off isolations, which he's very good at. And I was trying to do it on both ends. Definitely, definitely just had to dig deep. If we can get this win, I can worry about getting rest tomorrow."

Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and Love added 20 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland. J.R. Smith contributed 18 points on six 3-pointers.

C.J. Miles scored 27 off the bench for the Pacers, who also received 19 points from Thaddeus Young and 17 from Jeff Teague.

George added nine rebounds and nine assists.

"I'm not doing enough if a guy like Russ (Russell Westbrook) can win games and play at the level he's playing at, regardless of how I'm playing, it's not enough," George said.

So we're clear, Westbrook posted his 40th triple-double this season Sunday but the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Charlotte Hornets.

George's performance was Westbrook-esque, to say the least. He drained three 3-pointers in the two overtimes, and after his last, with 49.7 seconds left, James and Tristan Thompson were screaming at each other over an apparent blown coverage. The argument carried through a timeout and things were still tense in the locker room afterward.

"I had good intentions but I was a little bit too demonstrative at that point in the game," James said. "I can't show up my teammates, that's for sure, especially Double T worked hard for our team, he's a big-time player for our team so I had good intentions of what I wanted to happen, but the way it came out was ... it didn't look good on TV."

James tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 787 consecutive regular-season games with at least 10 points. Only Michael Jordan (866 consecutive games) had more consecutive games with double-digit points in NBA history. James now has 21 games this season with at least 30.

Smith nailed a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left in the first overtime to give the Cavs a 114-113 lead, but George tied it with a free throw with 2.1 seconds to go.

Smith made a 3-point shot with 2:05 left in the second overtime to put Cleveland ahead to stay at 123-120.

The Cavs led 91-77 with 10:21 left in regulation but couldn't hold it. Indiana regained the lead on Teague's 3-pointer with 3:48 remaining, and again on Miles' 3-pointer with 1:25 to go. James tied it at 104 with a soft fadeaway with 1:01 left.

Thompson missed two free throws for the Cavs and Myles Turner missed a jumper for the Pacers -- both inside 30 seconds -- that could have won the game.

James scored 16 points in the fourth quarter. Miles poured in 11.

"I told our guys that we need to win out, and it's not over," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.

NOTES: Pacers F Lance Stephenson scored four points and committed five fouls in the second Indiana debut of his career. Drafted by the Pacers in 2010 and then re-signed as a free agent last week, Stephenson played his first game for Indiana since Game 6 of the 2014 Eastern Conference finals. That game was against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Stephenson played for the Pelicans and Timberwolves this season and hasn't practiced with the Pacers. ... Cavs F Richard Jefferson (left knee tendinitis) played 11 scoreless minutes Sunday after missing the previous two games. ... Cavs G Kyle Korver (sore left foot) missed his fourth consecutive game. Coach Tyronn Lue said Korver was able to shoot on the court before the game, but hasn't done much running. On Saturday, cleveland.com reported that Korver had switched to the Nike Kyrie 3 shoe to provide more support for his ailing foot.

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