EditorsNote: Added LeBron quote
Indiana guard Victor Oladipo paced a potent Pacers attack with team highs of 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a 121-87 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night in Indianapolis to even the first-round series at three games apiece.
The winner of Sunday’s Game 7 in Cleveland advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals against top seed Toronto.
“Emotions will be high, but it’s just another basketball game that we’ve got to go win,” Oladipo said.
Oladipo, who was 12-of-50 from the field in the previous three games, sank 11 of 19 shots, 6 of 8 from 3-point range. Along with his triple-double, Oladipo had four steals. Domantas Sabonis chipped in with 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting and Darren Collison had 15 for the Pacers, who shot 56.3 percent. Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson each had 12 points for Indiana. The Pacers made 15 of 30 3-point shots.
LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 22 points and sat out the fourth quarter. Jeff Green added 13 points and Rodney Hood had 12 for the Cavaliers, who shot 41.8 percent.
“They just took it to us (in the third),” said James, whose teams have never lost a first-round series. “They made shots. We missed shots. We didn’t counter what they were doing defensively or offensively and it just turned the game wide open.”
The Pacers used a 14-4 spurt to open the third quarter to expand on their 10-point halftime lead, 71-51, capped by Turner’s 3-pointer with 7:04 remaining. Indiana kept up the intensity, pushing the lead to 92-67 after three quarters.
“It’s do or die for us, and we came out with a sense of urgency,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought the defense was connected. We were solid offensively. Pretty much played that way the whole 48 minutes.”
Indiana made 13 of 23 shots in the third quarter while Cleveland hit 7 of 21.
Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored 10 points for the Pacers, sank a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 30 at 101-71 with 9:03 left in the game. Indiana’s largest lead was 36 points.
The Pacers connected on 24 of 43 shots for 54.8 percent to take a 57-47 halftime lead.
Cleveland was 18-of-38 from the field for 47.4 percent in the first half. James led the way with 14 points.
Oladipo scored 15 of his 18 first-half points in the first quarter as the Pacers led 29-26 entering the second. Indiana hit 12 of 24 shots while Cleveland was 9-of-20 from the field.
Cavaliers point guard George Hill was sidelined for the third consecutive game with back spasms.
—Field Level Media