Post Up: LeBron Leads Cavaliers To Second Round, Rockets Crush Jazz

by April 29, 2018
Chris Paul

Cavaliers 105, Pacers 101 (Cavaliers win 4-3)

LeBron James dominating a Game 7 is nothing new. With his Cavs facing a rare first round exit, LeBron (45 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals) stepped up and led the way past a Pacers team that fought back from an early double-digit deficit and threatened to take control.

LBJ made his first seven shots as Cleveland came out of the gates playing some of its best basketball of the season. But the good times ended when LeBron’s jumpers stopped falling and the Cavs’ offense ground to a standstill. It felt like a replica of some of the other Cavs’ losses in this series: a quick start followed by a brutal collapse. When Indy outscored Cleveland 31-22 in the third quarter, you could sense the unease at Quicken Loans Arena.

Then, something weird happened. With LeBron on the bench for end of the third and start of the fourth due to a cramp — his only break of the game — the non-LeBron Cavs started to extend the lead. Kevin Love (14 points, 6 rebounds) finally some open jumpers and George Hill (11 points, 6 rebounds) got to the basket and drew some fouls. When LeBron checked back in at the 8:25 mark, Cleveland started to pull away.

Tristan Thompson (15 points, 10 rebounds) was huge in his first extended action of the series, especially on the boards and on defense. His block of Darren Collison (23 points) late in regulation helped seal the deal. After a slow start, Victor Oladipo (30 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists) played well but couldn’t do enough to overcome LeBron and Co. Cavs-Raptors will start Tuesday night in Toronto.

Rockets 110, Jazz 96 (Rockets lead 1-0)

With just one day off following their Game 6 win over the Thunder, the Jazz had a tough task ahead of them to take down a rested Rockets team in the opening game of the second round down in Houston. They withstood a strong first half from the Rockets — who led 64-39 at the break — and were able to cut into the deficit a bit in both the third and fourth quarter but never got within single digits.

James Harden (41 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists) couldn’t be stopped all day as the Houston starters severely outplayed those of Utah. Chris Paul (17 points, 6 assists), Clint Capela (16 points, 12 rebounds) and P.J. Tucker (15 points, 6 rebounds) also had big games as the Rockets did what they do, which is score quickly and often. Donovan Mitchell and Jae Crowder (21 points each) led the way for the Jazz, who committed 18 turnovers and let Houston hit 17 threes.

These teams will get two days of rest before playing Game 2 on Wednesday night.