#ThisIsPlayoffTime Recap

Cavs Historic Comeback Pushes Pacers to the Brink

LeBron's Herculean Peformance Helps Cavs Rally from 25-Point Deficit
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images

Wrap-Up -- LeBron James seems to do something historic on an almost nightly basis. But the jaw-dropping feat that he and the Cavaliers pulled off on Thursday night in Indiana breaks a record set before most of the folks reading this were born.

James posted another astronomical stat line, notching the 17th triple-double of his postseason career, but it was Cleveland’s Game 3 comeback that made history – overcoming the Pacers’ 25-point halftime lead to hand them the shocking 119-114 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Erasing that deficit – which actually only took the Cavaliers a quarter-and-a-half, tying the contest at 98-apiece midway through the third – tops the previous mark of 21 points, overcome by Baltimore against Philadelphia in 1948.

And for the team that’s done things the hard way all season long – the Wine and Gold staged their comeback with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love playing exactly zero minutes in the fourth quarter.

”We just never quit,” praised Tyronn Lue after the win. “We knew the importance of this game. To go up 3-0 makes things a lot more difficult for those guys. So this was a great comeback, a great team effort, and a great defensive half for us.”

The Pacers could do no wrong before intermission on Thursday – tallying 74 points on 57 percent shooting, including 59 percent from beyond the arc and a perfect 14-for-14 mark from the stripe. Paul George netted 23 points through two quarters and Indiana was dominating Cleveland in the paint and on the boards – holding the Cavs to 37 percent shooting and forcing eight turnovers.

But that was as good as it’d get for a Pacers team now one game away from being swept for the first time in franchise history.

In the third quarter, the Cavs cut Indy’s edge to 14 points with 5:29 to play in the period. But back-to-back triples by Jeff Teague and Lance Stephenson put the Pacers back up 20. But James and the Cavaliers kept coming and three-pointers by LeBron, Deron Williams and J.R. Smith ignited a 17-4 run that got Cleveland to within seven heading to the fourth.

By that time, the Pacers were obviously pressing and the Wine and Gold – led predominantly by LeBron and a second unit supporting cast of Williams, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and Kyle Korver – were on a roll that Nate McMillan’s squad simply couldn’t stop.

After notching 13 points in the third quarter, Cleveland’s four-time MVP was even better in the fourth, finishing with 15 points, five boards and three assists, willing the Wine and Gold to the victory – LeBron’s 20th straight First Round win dating back to the 2012 postseason.

Even after the Cavaliers knotted the contest midway through the fourth, Indiana re-took the lead twice more – including a 104-103 advantage with 5:15 to play. But LeBron scored on a finger-roll on Cleveland’s next possession, giving the Cavaliers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.

On the night, LeBron finished with 41 points – going 14-for-27 from the floor, including 6-of-12 from long-range, leading Cleveland with 13 boards and both teams with 12 assists to go with two blocked shots and a steal. He and the Cavaliers didn’t commit a single turnover after halftime.

LeBron James


LBJ tallies triple-double and Cavs get boost from the bench.

Name Points Rebounds Assists
LeBron James 41 13 12
Channing Frye 13 4 1
Kyle Korver 12 0 1

”We knew we’d have to take one of their punches; but they gave us a flurry, more than we expected,” explained James. “We knew that it’s a 48-minute game and we talked at halftime about getting a couple of stops and then get the ball flying and moving around on offense and we were able to do that and the momentum changed for us.”

Love and Irving each notched 13 points in the win, but both struggled from the floor – combining to shoot just 8-of-29.

J.R. Smith and Channing Frye also pitched in with 13 points on Thursday night – with Swish going 4-of-8 from long-range, netting double-figures for the first time in the series and Frye recording 11 of his 13 points in the final period, going 3-of-4 from the field, 2-of-3 from deep.

Kyle Korver finished with 12 points as he continued to torment the Pacers – going 4-of-5 from beyond the arc against them on Thursday night. In five games (including Playoffs) against Indy in a Cavaliers uniform, Korver is now shooting an obscene 72 percent (18-of-25) from long-distance.

Almost lost in the big numbers was the fantastic blue-collar effort of Tristan Thompson in that decisive third quarter. The sixth-year big man's energy eventually infected the entire team. On the night, Thompson finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, snagging seven of those on the offensive end. Two of his game-high three blocks came in the third.

The loss spoiled another big effort by a frustrated Paul George, who led the Pacers with 36 points, going 10-of-28 from the floor and 11-of-11 from the line, adding a game-high 15 boards and nine assists. Teague finished with 15 points and Thaddeus Young grabbed 10 of his 14 rebounds off the offensive glass.

Lance Stephenson again gave Indiana a nice lift, but after hitting three of his first five shots went just 1-for-7 the rest of the way.

Turning Point -- Almost any moment of that dramatic third quarter could pass for Thursday’s turning point, but it was a rebound by Kevin Love that symbolized the Cavaliers’ relentless effort.

Trailing by 18 – 77-59 – with just over eight minutes to go in the quarter, Myles Turner’s missed layup was tipped towards the Cavs bench by Tristan Thompson. Love sprinted down the baseline and saved the ball behind his back to Thompson while falling into the first row.

Thompson fed the ball ahead and J.R. Smith found LeBron in the corner – where he canned his second straight three-pointer to cut Indy’s lead to 15.

The Pacers immediately called timeout. But the fuse was already lit.

By the Numbers5,670 … points that LeBron James has now scored in his Playoff career, passing Kobe Bryant for 3rd on the NBA’s all-time list. James should catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (5,762) this postseason, with Michael Jordan (5,987) still clinging to the top spot.

QuotableKevin Love, on the Cavaliers’ Game 3 comeback …

”We just wanted to chip away and try to get it down to ten by the end of the third quarter. They gave us their best shot in the first half. We had to throw some haymakers in the second half. It was an unbelievable performance in the fourth quarter, a special performance.”

Up Next -- After pulling out Game 3 in dramatic fashion on Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Cavaliers will practice in Indianapolis for the next couple days before trying to complete the sweep back here on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. If the Pacers are able to extend the series, both squads return to The Q for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

Calls of the Game

Cavs.com Recaps Thursday’s Historic Comeback

Cavs.com checks in from Indy and recaps Thursday’s thrilling, comeback victory in Game 3 from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers - April 20, 2017

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Cavs.com Recaps Thursday’s Historic Comeback

Cavs.com checks in from Indy and recaps Thursday’s thrilling, comeback victory in Game 3 from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 21, 2017  |  06:38

#CavsPacers Game 3 On-Court Postgame: Channing Frye

Cavaliers forward Channing Frye spoke with Fox Sports Ohio's Allie Clifton following Thursday's 119-114, Game 3 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 21, 2017  |  02:28

#CavsPacers Game 3 Postgame: Kyle Korver

Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver spoke with the media following Thursday's 119-114, Game 3 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 21, 2017  |  01:52

#CavsPacers Game 3 Postgame: Kyrie Irving

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving spoke with the media following Thursday's 119-114, Game 3 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 21, 2017  |  03:44

#CavsPacers Game 3 Postgame: Kevin Love

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love spoke with the media following Thursday's 119-114, Game 3 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 21, 2017  |  05:57

#CavsPacers Game 3 Postgame: LeBron James

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Thursday's 119-114, Game 3 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 21, 2017  |  08:32

#CavsPacers Game 3 Postgame: Coach Lue

Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Thursday's 119-114, Game 3 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 21, 2017  |  07:54

Featured Highlight: Frye Triple Seals the Deal

J.R. Smith shakes the defense and finds Channing Frye spotted up for the dagger.
Apr 20, 2017  |  00:14

James Records a Triple-Double In Comeback Victory

LeBron James finishes with a monster triple-double of 41 points, 13 boards, and 12 assists in Cleveland's Game 3 comeback win over Indiana.
Apr 20, 2017  |  01:49

LBJ Cans Deep Triple - April 20, 2017

LeBron James trims the Pacers lead with a triple deep in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 20, 2017  |  00:10

Tristan with the Putback Slam - April 20, 2017

Tristan Thompson crashes the offensive glass and crushes home the putback slam.
Apr 20, 2017  |  00:11

LBJ Dimes TT - April 20, 2017

LeBron James throws the nice pocket pass to Tristan Thompson who deposits the dunk.
Apr 20, 2017  |  00:09

LeBron Converts the Tough And-One - April 20, 2017

LeBron James gets Paul George on the pump fake and drains the jumper, plus the foul.
Apr 20, 2017  |  00:12

LBJ Muscles Home the Bucket - April 20, 2017

LeBron James takes it coast-to-coast and powers through the foul to finish the layup.
Apr 20, 2017  |  00:18

Frye with the Flush - April 20, 2017

Kyle Korver draws the defense and throws the nice dish to Channing Frye who flushes home the slam.
Apr 20, 2017  |  00:08

Tristan Says Get That Weak Stuff Outta Here - April 20, 2017

The Pacers think they have an easy deuce but Tristan Thompson is patrolling the paint for the rejection.
Apr 20, 2017  |  00:10

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 119, Pacers 114

LeBron James scores 41 points, grabs 13 rebounds and dishes out 12 assists as the Cavaliers defeat the Pacers, 119-114 to take a 3-0 lead in the series.
Apr 20, 2017  |  03:15

#CavsPacers Game 3 Shootaround: LeBron James

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Thursday’s shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 20, 2017  |  03:06

#CavsPacers Game 3 Shootaround: Coach Lue

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Thursday’s shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Apr 20, 2017  |  04:07

Practice: Coach Lue – April 19, 2017

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts as the Wine and Gold prep for Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers.
Apr 19, 2017  |  06:21

Practice: J.R. Smith – April 19, 2017

Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts as the Wine and Gold prep for Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers.
Apr 19, 2017  |  13:39

GameTime: Pacers - Cavaliers Game 3 Lookahead

Casey, Brendan, and Rick preview Game 3 of the Pacers and Cavaliers series.
Apr 17, 2017  |  01:51