Cleveland Cavaliers destroyed the Indiana Pacers by 117-111 on Monday night. The second seed improved their opening round series lead to 2-0 over Pacers who are the No. 7 seed opponents.
The current NBA champions were led by their “Big Three” of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, who combined for an astounding 89 points in the victory. This was also the first time that each member of the Big Three dropped over 25 points in the same playoff game.
LeBron James finished with 25 points along with 10 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, four blocks and eight turnovers. Love went just 6-for-7 from the field, but 12-of-12 from the free throw line for 27 points with 11 rebounds, three assists, a block and two turnovers. Irving posted 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting with two boards, two dimes, a steal and four turnovers.
But this was LeBron’s 19th-straight opening round playoff victory. He now sits just one victory shy of tying Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Michael Cooper for the longest streak of that type since 1984.
While he does play in the Eastern Conference, regarded as by far the weaker of the two, LeBron and his teammates have shown remarkable consistency and have taken advantage of their seedings over the years.
Also, the Cavaliers have never lost a playoff series in which they led 2-0. NBA stats shows when winning the first game of any series, the Cavaliers have advanced 15 out of 16 times. Further, James has never lost a first-round series in his career and is now 46-7 in opening round contests overall.
After his Game 2 output of 25 points, LeBron is also just 12 points away from tying Kobe Bryant (5,640) for third place in NBA playoff scoring history and with his second rebound of the night, he passed Robert Parish (1,765 boards) for eighth place in playoff history.
The Game 2 victory also included a few firsts for James and the Cavs. LeBron’s defensive domination of four steals and four blocks was a career-best.
Progressing into Game 3 and beyond, that’s a great sign for Cleveland, who is built purely for the postseason, relying entirely upon James, Irving and Love to fill up the scoring column every game.
Game 3 will take place in Indiana on Thursday at 7:00pm EST.