Game Rewind: Pacers 92, Cavaliers 90 (Game 3)

Game Recap

Indianapolis may be Victor Oladipo's city, but on Friday night, it belonged to Bojan Bogdanovic.

The Croatian sensation scored 30 points, going 7-for-9 from 3-point range, leading Indiana back from a 17-point halftime deficit in a 92-90 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I've been scoring all my life," Bogdanovic said. "I kind of changed my role here. When I see that shots are going in, that gives me extra energy."

Indiana now has a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven series and retains homecourt advantage, with Game 4 set for Sunday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

After a disappointing first half marred by 10 turnovers, the Pacers slowly chipped away at Cleveland's lead over the final two quarters, eventually taking the lead a few minutes later in emphatic fashion.

With 6:10 remaining, Oladipo dished to Bogdanovic on the left wing, who buried a three even as Kyle Korver flew into him. The Croatian calmly knocked down the ensuing free throw to give Indiana an 81-77 lead.

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Then after a George Hill turnover, Bogdanovic buried another three from the left corner, sending the sellout crowd into hysterics and forcing a Cavaliers timeout.

"The place just erupted," Pacers center Myles Turner said. "We were going crazy on the sidelines.

"It's something that I was expecting and it exceeded my expectations. I've been here three years. This was probably the most fun game I've been a part of."

Bogdanovic picked up his fifth foul on the next possession, however, and James subsequently buried two 3-pointers of his own to trim Indiana's lead to 84-83 with 3:41 to play.

A James free throw tied the game with 3:25 remaining, but Bogdanovic scored on a drive to give Indiana the lead back, then added a long distance 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to push Indiana's lead back to five with 2:26 remaining.

The Pacers eventually extended their lead to seven, but threes by James and Kevin Love made it a one-point game with 7.6 seconds remaining.

The Cavaliers fouled Darren Collison, who hit one of two free throws with five seconds left on the clock. He missed the second, but Cleveland was out of timeouts and could only manage a J.R. Smith three from near midcourt that came up well short.

The star of the night was Bogdanovic, who scored more points and made more 3-pointers than he did in any game during the regular season. His seven threes actually tied the franchise record for a playoff game, a distinction he now shares with Chuck Person, Reggie Miller (who did it twice), and Paul George.

And he did it all while also guarding James, a four-time MVP, for much of the night.

"He did an incredible job for us on both ends of the floor," Oladipo said. "When he's playing like that, it opens it up for everybody."

Unlike the start of the first two games in the series, which each saw one team sprint out to a double-digit lead, the opening minutes of Game 3 were evenly matched. Collison's layup with 5:55 left in the first quarter tied the score at 15.

That's when the Cavaliers made their run, outscoring Indiana 15-2 over a four-minute stretch, the first major surge by either team all night. Turnovers were a major problem for the Pacers in the first quarter, as they coughed the ball up seven times in the frame to fall into a 31-20 hole.

Indiana cut into that deficit thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by Bogdanovic and Stephenson to open the second quarter. But the Cavs — playing a lineup featuring Love and four reserves for the first half of the second quarter — quickly righted the ship and pushed Cleveland's lead back to double digits.

James checked back in with 6:10 left in the quarter and knocked down a 3-pointer six seconds later to extend the visitors' advantage to 13 points. The Cavs continued to build their lead over the closing minutes of the half, taking a 57-40 advantage into the break.

"We were hesitating," Stephenson said about Indiana's offensive struggles in the first half. "We weren't in attack mode.

"In the second half, we were in attack mode, playing aggressive, and hitting the right spots."

The Blue & Gold came out with a noticeable fire to start the second half, particularly on the defensive end. Indiana opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run, slowly chipping away at the Cavaliers' lead.

The Pacers wound up holding Cleveland to just 12 points in the third quarter on 5-of-19 shooting and also forced seven turnovers. As a result, the hosts only trailed 69-63 heading into the fourth.

Indiana continued its slow charge in the final frame, eventually tying the game at 75 on a pair of free throws by Oladipo with 8:38 remaining, setting the stage for Bogdanovic's heroics.

The second half was yet another example of resiliency from a team that has built its brand around the concept.

"There's been a lot of fight in these guys all season long," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. "We've been in that situation at half where we’ve been down or we haven't played our best basketball and they come out and just continue to fight, continue to scrap.

"They stay together and they pulled through another big win as they did tonight."

Oladipo had 18 points, six rebounds, and seven assists for Indiana, while Thaddeus Young added 12 points, seven rebounds, and three steals.

The Cavaliers wore matching suits as they arrived at The Fieldhouse on Friday night and seemed intent on making a statement they were more than a one-man team after James' 46-point performance in their win in Game 2.

Still, it was James who took the bulk of their shots in crunch time and finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists.

He did get more help, as Love scored 19 points and Hill added 13, but it wasn't enough to beat the Pacers on their home floor.

Game 4 will take place on Sunday night at 8:30 PM ET. It will air nationally on TNT and locally on FOX Sports Indiana.

Inside the Numbers

Bogdanovic's season highs were 29 points (which he did twice) and six 3-pointers (which he did three times). He bested both marks on Friday.

Bogdanovic had struggled in the first two games of the series, averaging 11.5 points while only going 8-for-23 from the field and 2-for-9 from 3-point range.

Turnovers ultimately were an issue for both teams. The Pacers had 20, while the Cavs had 17. Indiana actually outscored Cleveland 24-19 in points off turnovers.

Oladipo overcame a rough night offensively, as he went just 1-for-8 from 3-point range and had five turnovers.

The Pacers got solid contributions off the bench from Stephenson (eight points and five rebounds), Domantas Sabonis (seven points), and Cory Joseph (six points and four assists).

Entering Friday, the Cavaliers were 40-0 on the season when leading after three quarters, having won 39 regular season games and Game 2 on Wednesday.

You Can Quote Me On That

"Everybody thought before this season that I can not play defense. I don't say that I am playing defense, but I am working hard at trying to make it tough for each offensive player that I am guarding." -Bogdanovic

"You're taking a pounding if you're on the defensive end of the floor if you're guarding LeBron. But offensively he found some energy. He got some good looks and he knocked them down." -McMillan on Bogdanovic

"When we get the crowd going they start panicking and they start getting nervous. The crowd plays a big part of our wins. For the most part we played together and made big plays in that stretch part of the game." -Stephenson

"I just thought that their physicality, denying the basketball, getting into us when we catch the ball, we were back on our heels. The pressure, I thought it just hurt us tonight. 10 turnovers in the second half that cost us, too." -Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue on the difference in the second half

"It's the postseason. Every game is a must win. You want to come in and play well and win no matter what. No matter if you have homecourt advantage or if you’re starting on the road, that's the mindset you have to have." -James

Stat of the Night

Bogdanovic's 3-point shooting bailed out the Pacers on Friday night. While he made 7-of-9 shots from beyond the arc, the rest of his teammates went just 1-for-17.


  • All fans in the sellout crowd of 17,923 received a gold t-shirt with the playoff theme of "Together" and the Pacers state icon logo.
  • The last time the Pacers held a 2-1 lead in a playoff series was in the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Washington Wizards, a series they eventually won in six games.
  • Hill's back "locked up" in the second half according to Lue. He only played 9:19 and scored just two points after halftime, but is expected to be available in Game 4.

Up Next

The Pacers will host the Cavs for Game 4 of their best-of-seven series on Sunday, April 22 at 8:30 PM ET. Find Tickets »

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