Pacers stay flawless against Cavs, comeback to win 97-95

APTOPIX-Cavaliers-Pacers-Basketball

"He's a little dirty", James said. "We've got to be locked in to what we're doing and be professional". That turned the ball back over to IN, which split a pair of free throws with 1.4 seconds remaining.

While Rose and Shumpert continue recovering from injuries, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue made a decision to give Thomas and Wade extra rest because of the back-to-backs. It is obvious that Thomas still hasn't gotten his legs back under him.

play0:29LeBron misses at the buzzer.

"Business decisions" tend to be made, and it's likely safe to assume that this was the case during the first quarter of Friday's game between the Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers.

Let's face it we are all used to LeBron's lightning speed, so a slowdown would be rather noticeable.

After draining a 3-pointer, Lance Stephenson gets into LeBron James' face and the two exchange words.

APTOPIX-Cavaliers-Pacers-Basketball-2
Cleveland Cavaliers Cedi Osman dunks during the first half of Friday's game against the Indiana Pacers. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Isn't Lance Stephenson vs. LeBron James just so, so much fun? "I don't know if it was fatigue, but we took ourselves out of it". "I should have known, I've known since school, it's not the guy who tells the joke that gets caught it's the guy who laughs". Then again, both players have been around for this poor stretch so it's tough to go down that excuse road. His 7.7 free-throw attempts per game are tied for sixth in the league; DeRozan gets to the line more often than ball-dominant foul magnets like LeBron, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

Thomas, who will sit out at IN because he has not been cleared to play both nights of a back-to-back, finished with four points, two rebounds and three assists, hitting 2-of-15 field goals and 0-for-6 from long range.

Bench mob: Toronto's reserves had a heck of a night against Cleveland on Thursday. And while Jordan would be a significant defensive upgrade in the paint, he's not putting Cleveland near the Warriors right now. Forward Serge Ibaka will return for Toronto after serving a one-game suspension for fighting Miami's James Johnson. Friday's funk was better than it has been lately, however.

The Toronto Raptors played their best game of the 2017-18 season on Thursday, and they did it on their biggest stage of their schedule so far - in a USA national television broadcast against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Washington shot 56.8 percent from the field and scored a season-high 74 points in the paint. Stephen Curry scored a game-high 30 points in the first game, in which the Warriors beat the Raptors 117-112 but were not able to cover as 12.5-point favorites.

Instead of mainly ignoring an open, untrustworthy JR Smith on a few possessions late in the fourth quarter, Wade or Thomas would've been in that spot, possibly providing enough punch to prevent an early 22-point lead from vanishing. The Pacers hit 14 of 20 shots to help them outscore the Cavs 32-24 in the second quarter and narrow the halftime deficit to 58-44.

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