At halftime of Game 3 on Friday evening, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked to be in complete control. The defending Eastern Conference champions were heavily favored going into this series against the Indiana Pacers but were left stunned after a Game 1 loss. They bounced back with a win in Game 2, then took a 17-point lead into halftime on Friday night. And with a 54 percent shooting clip (including 50 percent from three) as a team, there were no signs that the Cavs would slow down after the break.
However, the bottom fell out for Cleveland in the second half, as the non-LeBron members of the Cavaliers combined to shoot 8-of-26 from the floor. Despite some heroics from James during the stretch run, Tyronn Lue’s team tallied just 33 points after halftime (headlined by 15 from LeBron) and the final possession was oddly fitting as J.R. Smith was forced into an awkward heave that went begging as time expired in a 92-90 defeat.
While there is plenty of time for the Cavaliers to spring back to life in the series, the team’s 2-1 deficit marks the first time in James’ career that he trails by that margin in a first-round series.