Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - LeBron brings Cavs back from brink as the Rockets romp




LeBron brings Cavs back from brink as the Rockets romp

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers gestures in the fourth quarter of Game 7 with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers gestures in the fourth quarter of Game 7 with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP

LeBron brings Cavs back from brink as the Rockets romp

LeBron James scored 45 points in another magnificent Game 7 performance on Sunday, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 105-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers and into the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Facing elimination in the first round for the first time, James was having none of it.

The 33-year-old superstar, who has now reached the second round in all 13 of his playoff appearances, produced his third 40-point game of the series, adding nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals as Cleveland booked a second-round clash with Eastern Conference top seeds Toronto starting on Tuesday.

“I just try to do whatever it takes to help us win. I felt like I wanted to do that again in this series,” said James, who is now 5-2 in Game 7s in all rounds of the playoffs.

“There’s nothing like a Game 7,” said Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson. “Game 7 separates the men from the boys.”

With their season on the line after a humbling 34-point loss in Game 6, the Cavaliers exploded out of the blocks.

James made his first seven shots and finished the first half with 26 points, five assists and four rebounds.

The Cavs pulled down 11 offensive rebounds in the first half and led by as many as 14 in the second quarter as coach Tyronn Lue switched his starting line-up to include all four of his holdovers from the last three NBA Finals teams: James, Thompson, Kevin Love and JR Smith.

“We started the game with guys that have been in big games before,” said James, but there was no doubt that it was “King James” who ruled.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives around Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers during the first half of Game 7 on Sunday. AFP
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives around Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers during the first half of Game 7 on Sunday. AFP

James became the career playoff leader in steals when he picked off a pass in the second quarter, having entered the contest tied with former Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen (395) atop the all-time postseason list.

James also became the first player to score 20 or more points 200 times in the playoffs.

“He put us on his back,” Lue said. “He did it all for us this series.”

After their dominant first half, Cleveland once again saw the Pacers gain ground in the third.

Indiana took a one-point lead on Bojan Bogdanovich’s 3-pointer with 7:13 left in the third period and a determined Victor Oladipo scored 14 of his 30 points in the third.

Cleveland weathered the storm to take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter, and with James sidelined for several minutes fighting leg cramps they built the advantage to nine.

Oladipo’s driving layup cut Indiana’s deficit to four with less than a minute to play, but James responded with a layup and Cleveland held on.

“I’m burnt right now,” James admitted after the game. “I’m not thinking about Toronto right now until tomorrow. I’m ready to go home. Can we? I’m tired. I want to go home.”

The Cavaliers have beaten the Raptors in each of the last two post-seasons, sweeping them in the second round last year.

But fatigue could be a factor against a Toronto team that punched their second-round ticket on Friday.

Rockets dominate Jazz

It was evident on Sunday that the Utah Jazz just couldn’t keep up with the potent Houston Rockets in their Western Conference second-round opener.

James Harden scored 41 points as the Rockets romped to a 110-96 victory.

Houston connected on 17 of 32 3-point attempts and led by as many as 27 over a Jazz team that eliminated Oklahoma City on Sunday in the sixth game of a bruising first-round series.

“We knew what they just went through, how tough their last series was.

“We had a comprehensive rest,” added Harden, whose Rockets finished off the Minnesota Timberwolves 4-1 on Wednesday.

“So we wanted to come out here and pick up the pace up – aggressively get stops and aggressively move the ball, and we did that.”

Point guard Chris Paul added 17 points, six assists and four rebounds for the Rockets, who had 16 points from Clint Capela and 15 from PJ Tucker.

Donovan Mitchell, starting at point guard in place of injured Ricky Rubio, and reserve Jae Crowder scored 21 apiece for the Jazz.

James Harden (left) celebrates with teammate Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets in the second half of Game 1 with the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on Sunday in Houston, Texas. AFP
James Harden (left) celebrates with teammate Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets in the second half of Game 1 with the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on Sunday in Houston, Texas. AFP

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15