LeBron’s 45 pushes Cavs past Pacers, 105-101 in Game 7

Cleveland wins series 4-3, faces Toronto in conference semis Tuesday

Daryl Ruiter
April 29, 2018 - 3:54 pm
Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) signals to his team to not defend the Indiana Pacers late in the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – LeBron James’ favorite 2 words: Game 7.

They're also the most draining.

"I'm burnt right now," James said. "I'm not thinking about Toronto. I want to go home."

James would not be denied Sunday afternoon as finished with 45 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists to push the Cavaliers into the conference semifinals with a 105–101 win over the Indiana Pacers to take the series 4-3.

James kept his streak of never losing a first-round playoff series in-tact, he's now 13-0 in Round 1. He also won his fifth straight playoff Game 7.

Tristan Thompson provided a spark early with 6 points and 7 rebounds in the opening quarter and had 10 points and 9 boards at halftime. He finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and a massive block of Darren Collison in the final minute.

"That's the Tristan we know," James said. 

Collison scored 23 in the loss for Indiana.  

Kevin Love scored 8 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory, including a 3 with LeBron on the bench to push their lead to 8 with 9:42 left. He added 6 rebounds.

James made 16 of 25 shots in the win. The rest of the Cavs combined to shoot 16-49, and that includes a 5-6 effort from Thompson. 

“I thought I had a good motor, but his motor is amazing. He’s got a Lamborghini motor,” Thompson said of James. 

No Cav scored 20 in the entire series.

The Pacers first field goal didn’t come until the 7:02 mark of the first quarter – a 3 from Darren Collison from the corner to make it a 9-5 game. Cleveland led after 1, 31-19 thanks to 13 from James on 5-5 shooting.

Jeff Green was the lone Cav not named Thompson or James to make a 2 in the first half and the 7 players combined to shoot just 6-28 in the first 24 minutes, but the Cavs only had 1 turnover before intermission.

Green had 5 points.

James passed Scottie Pippen to become the NBA's career playoff leader in steals with 396 following a second-quarter theft.

The 4-time NBA MVP planned to play all 48 minutes. He was caught by ESPN cameras saying he would play “the whole game,” but he went to the locker room with a minute left in the third quarter to deal with what he described after the game as a “minor injury” before returning to play the final 8:25 to close the series out.

Indiana used a 16-4 run to start the third quarter capped by back-to-back 3s from Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic to give the Pacers their first lead of the afternoon at 59-58 with 7:12 remaining in the quarter.

The Pacers continued Cleveland’s third-quarter nightmare by outscoring them 31-22 but it was only good enough to still trail the Cavs 76-74.

Victor Oladipo, who had 5 in the first half, woke up and scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half, including 14 in the third. He pulled down 12 rebounds in the loss as James ended the Pacers' season yet again.

"He did what he always does. It’s not really shocking," Oladipo said. "He’s the best in the world and that’s what the best does, and now I gotta work to get on that level.”

Sunday marked the 42nd anniversary of the Cavs’ ‘Miracle of Richfield’ that saw them beat the Washington Bullets in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Richfield Coliseum.

There was no such Miracle for Indiana Sunday afternoon.

"They definitely pushed us. They pushed us to the brink, actually," James said.

On to the next round.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals is scheduled Tuesday night in Toronto.