NBA wrap: LeBron James helps Cavs even series

LeBron James took over on Wednesday to help Cleveland Cavaliers escape a 2-0 hole in its Eastern Conference series against Pacers.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner (33) on Wednesday.   -  AP

LeBron James turned in a near-heroic performance Wednesday against Pacers, leading to a 100-97 Game 2 win.

James helped Cavaliers even the series at 1-1 by scoring 46 points on 17-of-24 shooting with 12 rebounds and five assists. He had 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists at halftime after scoring Cleveland's first 16 points.

Cavaliers jumped out to an early 33-18 lead after the first quarter, but Indiana slowly started chipping away at the lead. Pacers outscored Cleveland in each of the final three quarters, but James' early scoring outburst helped Cavaliers hold on for the win.

Kevin Love added 15 points and eight rebounds to help support James, but he suffered a nasty-looking thumb injury late in the fourth quarter.

 

Pacers was led by guard Victor Oladipo's 22 points and six assists. Myles Turner added 18 points and five rebounds.

Despite the loss, Indiana still sits in solid position having already stolen a game in Cleveland. If it can take care of business at home, James and the three-time defending Eastern Conference champion will get an early exit from the 2018 playoffs.

Stud of the Night:

Rockets point guard Chris Paul led Houston to a dominant 102-82 Game 2 win over the Timberwolves by scoring a game-high 27 points with eight assists. Gerald Green added 21 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors led Utah to a 102-95 Game 2 victory over Thunder to level the series at 1-1. Mitchell scored a game-high 28 points with six rebounds, while Favors added 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Duds of the Night:

Thunder's "big three": While all three members of this group had solid games (Westbrook had 19 points with 13 assists and nine rebounds), but none of them stepped in the fourth quarter, when Thunder was outscored 28-16. Oklahoma City needs someone to step up with the game on the line.

Highlight:

James could not be stopped:

 

What's Next:

Game 3: Warriors (2-0) at Spurs (0-2) — This game will be played with heavy hearts as San Antonio announced the passing of Gregg Popovich's wife on Wednesday night. The Spurs have struggled to hit shots so far this series, but have still hung tight against the Stephen Curry-less Warriors. While Golden State appears to have this series in hand, basketball will play a secondary role to most during this game.