James' supporting cast steps up as Cavaliers tie series 2-2

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James shooting the ball while Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison and forward Bojan Bogdanovic defend in the second half of their Eastern Conference first-round play-off series. The Cavaliers won Game 4 104-100 to
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James shooting the ball while Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison and forward Bojan Bogdanovic defend in the second half of their Eastern Conference first-round play-off series. The Cavaliers won Game 4 104-100 to even the series at 2-2.PHOTO: REUTERS

INDIANAPOLIS (Indiana) • For the second straight game, the Cleveland Cavaliers allowed a double-digit half-time lead to slip out of their hands. But this time, they showed their overall quality to emerge with a win.

LeBron James was once again brilliant and, thankfully for him, his team-mates were also up to the task in sharing his burden when it came to scoring.

James had 32 points and Kyle Korver hit two clutch three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to lead the Cavaliers to a 104-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers, levelling their National Basketball Association (NBA) first-round play-off series at two games apiece on Sunday night in Indianapolis.

Cleveland's win followed a Game 3 collapse in which they let the Pacers erase a 17-point half-time deficit and ultimately steal a victory.

On Sunday, the Pacers cut the Cavaliers' 10-point half-time lead to 80-78 heading into the fourth quarter, the fourth time Indiana trimmed Cleveland's lead to two points in the second half.

James, who hit 12 of 22 field-goal attempts, grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds. Korver scored 18 points, including eight in the final three-plus minutes. J.R. Smith and Jordan Clarkson each scored 12 points for the Cavaliers.

"You don't ever want to go down 3-1 against anybody, no matter if it's the first round or if you're fortunate enough to get all the way to the Finals," James said. "It's just too difficult."

When asked if he needed to see the supporting cast play the way they did, James added: "I know what they're capable of doing. You just always hope your team-mates play well no matter what the circumstances are."

Game 5 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series is tomorrow night in Cleveland.

"We came on the road in a hostile environment and got a big win after a let-down in the last game," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

"When you lose a tough game, it's tough to bounce back, especially on the road. It's a tribute to our guys and their character."

In the other play-off games on Sunday, the Washington Wizards posted a 106-98 victory over the Toronto Raptors to even their Eastern Conference series at two games apiece.

Also in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the conference second seeds Boston Celtics 104-102 to tie their series at 2-2.

The San Antonio Spurs, meanwhile, defeated the Golden State Warriors 103-90 to prevent the NBA champions from sweeping the Western Conference first-round series.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2018, with the headline 'James' supporting cast steps up as Cavaliers tie series 2-2'. Print Edition | Subscribe