INDIANAPOLIS: LeBron James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers set an NBA postseason record by erasing a 25-point halftime deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-114 on Thursday night and take a 3-0 lead. James passed Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the NBA’s career playoff scoring list and tied another NBA record by winning his 20th consecutive first-round game.
The Cavaliers will try to sweep the series Sunday. The incredible rally ruined Paul George’s big night. He had 36 points, a playoff career-high 15 rebounds and nine assists. Cleveland trailed by 26 in the first half and was still down 74-49 at halftime. The largest halftime deficit overcome to win a playoff game had been 21 points by Baltimore against Philadelphia in 1948.
GRIZZLIES 105, SPURS 94
Mike Conley scored 24 points and handed out eight assists as Memphis snapped a 10-game postseason skid against San Antonio. The Grizzlies pulled within 2-1 in this first-round Western Conference series, giving first-year coach David Fizdale his first postseason victory. This also marked the Grizzlies’ first win over the Spurs in the playoffs since April 2011, when Memphis beat San Antonio in six games. Game 4 is Saturday night.
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each scored 21 points for Memphis, which outscored San Antonio 31-17 in the third quarter and led by as much as 22 in the second half. Kawhi Leonard, who scored 32 and 37 in the first two games, was held to 18. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16, and Kyle Anderson had 15 as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich benched his starters for most of the fourth quarter.
BUCKS 104, RAPTORS 77
Khris Middleton scored 20 points and Milwaukee overwhelmed cold-shooting Toronto to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. Greg Monroe added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Bucks, who held DeMar DeRozan without a basket and never looked back after leading by 20 points after the first quarter. Making this blowout even more impressive was that they barely needed All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo. He finished with 19 points and eight boards.
Game 4 is Saturday back at the Bradley Center. With raucous fans wearing black Bucks giveaway T-shirts to match the players’ uniforms, Milwaukee put on a dominating display of basketball worthy of the team’s “Fear the Deer” slogan. The Raptors looked frazzled after shooting 4 of 18 in the first quarter. Kyle Lowry had 13 points. – AP