5QT: LeBron finally gets some help as Cavs prevail
Five quick takes on the Cleveland Cavaliers' 105-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena...
1.LeBron James will deservedly get most of the credit after posting another phenomenal performance, finishing with 45 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals on 16-of-25 shooting in 43 minutes, but...
2. As LeBron said to the great Doris Burke of ABC in his postgame oncourt interview, "It's too bad we can't split the game ball between Tristan and G-Hill," referring to Tristan Thompson and George Hill. Thompson, who played on 24 minutes combined in the first six games, was called on by coach Tyronn Lue to start Game 7 and he responded with 15 points, 10 boards, one assist and one block in 35 minutes. Thompson said Lue told him in the weight room Saturday he would be starting today. "I said, 'Say no more,'" Thompson said.
3. Hill, who sat out the previous three games with back spasms, entered the game with 7:12 to play in the third quarter and went the rest of the way. The 31-year-old veteran responded with 11 points, six rebounds (5 on the offensive end), three assists and a block in 19 minutes. Playing with the lead, the Pacers were forced to foul and Hill made them pay, making 9-of-11 from the charity stripe.
4. Speaking of guys who stepped up, Kevin Love finally at least resembled the guy who has made five All-Star teams in his career. He finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes, making 4-of-7 from the 3-point line. With James on the bench to start the fourth quarter, he and Hill keyed a 10-2 run with James on the bench.
5. Lue has taken a ton of heat this season and, quite honestly, most of it has been deserved. However, the decision to start Thompson and then turning to Hill when he did were both moves that were crucial in determining the outcome, with five guys scoring in double figures (J.R. Smith had 11 points, 3 rebounds and a block). Cleveland had previously had only one game in this series with even four guys in double figures. With the Cavs up four, 100-96, Lue called for timeout with 50.1 seconds to play after a layup by Indiana's Victor Oladipo (30 points, 12 boards, 6 dimes, 3 steals). He (or perhaps Larry Drew) drew up a stellar give-and-go play between James and Kyle Korver, with Korver threading the needle on a picture-perfect pass to LeBron a bucket that extended their lead to six with 30.2 seconds to go. “I was scared," Lue said with a laugh when asked about Korver's pass, which sailed by the hand of Indiana's BojanBogdanovic by inches. "But Kyle made a great read. That kind of sealed the game for us.” The starting lineup used today was the 34th different unit Lue has used this season.