CLEVELAND (AP) - Blown big leads.
James and the Cavaliers defeated the Indiana Pacers 117-111 at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday to take a 2-0 lead in their playoff series.
The best-of-seven series now heads to Indianapolis on Thursday for Game 3.
James added 10 rebounds and seven assists, but had eight of Cleveland's 19 turnovers.
If LeBron's words about being "right there" and "close to the team that we all know we can become", turn out to be true, opponents might be in for a rude awakening should Cleveland start to click on all cylinders. Irving led the way with 37 points, while Love had 27 and James had 25.
"You know they're going to go on runs", C.J. Miles said.
But Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue sounded the warning about his team's high turnover count, which allowed the Pacers to re-enter the contest. "With that comes a lot of responsibility, having to play and compete hard every single night. Once we get over the screen, it's an isolation and they've been hitting shots".
If a team like the Pacers, whose ballhandlers ranked ninth in the league for points per possessions (0.89), can keep the scoring margins close, what does that mean for the Cavaliers if they have to face the Toronto Raptors or Boston Celtics, two of the top six pick-and-roll teams in the National Basketball Association.
Looking past the smoke and mirrors, Cleveland allowed IN to shoot 52% from the field and 40% from the three-point line - numbers expected from the league's ninth-worst defense. Then they had a one-point loss with a chance to win Game 1 of the playoffs.
One bad news for the Cavaliers is the injury to J.R. Smith, who suffered a left hamstring injury.
And all three of the other Eastern Conference contenders - Celtics, Raptors and Wizards - had similar net ratings during the regular season, illustrating that whatever they lack in offense will be made up on the defensive side. Iman Shumpert, who sat out the opener, replaced Smith and played 20 solid minutes.
"The point is we have to join in", Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Monday. "We needed that spark".
In Game 3 on Thursday, look for Turner to come out and play more aggressively in front of the in fans.
"He's got to learn to control himself and be in the moment", George said (via ESPN's Dave McMenamin). "We haven't won, but we can take some positives from the games we played".
"We have a chance to do something we all have been wanting to do all season, and that's to put together a four-quarter game", he said. Even when we're down big.
"We all know that Lance is an emotional guy". James (357) also jumped Magic Johnson (358) for third place in career playoff steals and hopped Robert Parish for eighth in rebounds. Clutch baskets from James and Love held off the Pacers' rally and the Cavaliers held on to their second win in this series. Only Jerry West (14) and Michael Jordan (15) had more.
The Pacers, meanwhile, were left feeling like they had let a golden opportunity slip away.