Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/20/18

It was a message received and a message given by LeBron James, who leads the Cleveland Cavaliers into Indiana for Game 3 of their first-round series versus the Pacers.

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After making it a point to get his teammates involved first offensively and not taking a shot until after ten minutes had elapsed in Cleveland’s 98-80 loss Sunday to open this best-of-seven series, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue implored superstar LeBron James to be aggressive scoring from the jump in Game 2.

James heeded his coach’s call, scoring the first 13 points of the game and outscoring the Pacers 20-18 alone in the first quarter. He scored a club playoff-record 29 in the first half and finished with 46 points, 12 rebounds and five assists as Cleveland knotted the series at one game and held off Indiana 100-97 on Wednesday night. 

Lue made two changes to his starting lineup from Game 1, replacing Rodney Hood and Jeff Green with J. R. Smith and Kyle Korver. The latter scored all 12 of his points from 3-point range, and while Smith finished with only five points, he had a huge steal and layup off Victor Oladipo that gave the Cavaliers a seven-point lead with 2:59 to play.

Oladipo finished with 22 points and six assists, but foul trouble limited him to eight minutes in the first half and 28 for the game. He also missed a wide-open, potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute. The Pacers shot 52.6 percent overall but were just six for 22 from 3-point range, and their 17 turnovers resulted in 18 points for the Cavaliers.

Cavaliers center Kevin Love, who had 15 points and eight rebounds, is expected to play after jamming his left thumb and sitting out the final 3:43. Love missed 20 games in the regular season with a broken left hand, and while X-rays on the thumb came back negative, ESPN was reporting the All-Star suffered a partially torn ligament.

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