Cleveland was 39-0 during the regular season when leading after three quarters and kept that perfect mark intact with a Game 2 win.
The incredible second-half charge came exactly one year after Indiana blew a 26-point halftime lead in a historic playoff collapse against the Cavs.
This time, the Pacers delivered a devastating blow to the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs – on a night LeBron Jones joined Michael Jordan as the only players in playoff history to record 100 double-doubles. James finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Cleveland from losing its first game this season after leading following the third quarter.
WIZARDS 122, RAPTORS 103
WASHINGTON (AP) – Bradley Beal heeded his coach’s plea to ”do his job” by scoring 21 of his 28 points in the first half, his All-Star backcourt running mate John Wall delivered 28 points and 14 assists, and Washington beat Toronto in an occasionally heated game to cut its Eastern Conference first-round playoff series deficit to 2-1.
After letting the Raptors grab the first 2-0 series lead in franchise history, the Wizards came home and checked off every box coach Scott Brooks presented. They got Beal more involved after he made only three shots in Game 2; they actually led after the first quarter, 30-29; they played with enough defensive focus to get produce 19 turnovers by Toronto, leading to 28 points for Washington.
Add it all up, and it was a rare recent victory for Washington Oren Burks Jersey Elite , which had lost seven of eight games dating to the regular season.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 23 points on 10-for-22 shooting one game after scoring 37, and Kyle Lowry had 19 points and eight assists.
BUCKS 116, CELTICS 92
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 and Milwaukee used a dominating first half to overwhelm Boston, narrowing its deficit in the first-round playoff series to 2-1.
Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker each added 17 for the energized Bucks, who held the Celtics without a field goal for nearly an 11-minute stretch of the first half.
Backup center Thon Maker scored 14 points and blocked five shots. Pesky guard Matthew Dellavedova, a veteran of a championship run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, helped hold young Celtics point guard Terry Rozier to nine points on 2-of-7 shooting.
Al Horford scored 16 for the Celtics, who fell behind by 23 at halftime and got no closer than 76-62 with 3:06 left in the third quarter on Jayson Tatum’s 3-pointer.Injuries left the Avalanche playing their backup to the backup goaltender while needing a victory to stave off elimination.
The goalie nicknamed the ”Hamburglar” came through.
Andrew Hammond made a career-high 44 saves for his first postseason victory, and Colorado rallied to beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Friday night and sent the first-round series back to Denver for Game 6.
”Obviously Keke Coutee Jersey Texans , it was a lot of fun,” said Hammond, who was mobbed in the locker room. ”We’re excited to have another game. We didn’t want this to be the last one of the season, and I think to a man, we all did whatever we could to make sure that wasn’t the case.”
This is the third time the Avalanche had trailed 3-1 in a series since moving to Colorado. They lost the first two but have a chance Sunday to push the defending Western Conference champs to a seventh game after rallying with two goals in the final 4:11.
They also became the first to win a playoff game in regulation when trailing in the final 5:00 of the third since Chicago won at Boston in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
Gabriel Landeskog started the rally with his goal into an empty net with Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne caught outside the crease with his own teammate Ryan Ellis in his lap. Then Sven Andrighetto gave the Avs the lead off a rebound of a shot by J.T. Compher with 1:28 left that stunned a sold-out Nashville crowd that had expected to celebrate advancing to the second round.
”We’ve got a series again going home, and it’s going to be exciting,” Landeskog said. ”As we talked about before tonight, just to win one. We don’t have to win three in one night.”
This was not only Hammond’s first playoff victory, it was his first postseason start since April 17, 2015 Larry Doby Jersey , with Ottawa and just the third of his career. He started only one game during the regular season after being traded to Colorado in November.
”You never know when you’re going to get a second chance,” Hammond said. ”I’ve played two games basically since the start of January – at times it felt as though that day would never come again when you’re going to play again. You keep battling in practice, you stick to the process, when you get your chance, you’re ready.”
Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he loved Hammond’s demeanor since learning he would be starting.
”He’s waited a long time this year for this opportunity, and he’s making the most of it,” Bednar said.
The series winner will face Winnipeg in the second round.
Nick Bonino scored for Nashville.
This game was scoreless until Bonino’s goal with 9:42 left, a big change for a series that had been the highest-scoring of the first round averaging 7.25 goals per game coming into Game 5.
The Predators peppered Hammond, and the only time Nashville beat him was when Mattias Ekholm’s shot bounced off his left pad and went in off Bonino’s right skate. The official on the spot immediately waved it off. Officials huddled, then reviewed the play.
During the review Kyle Long Bears Jersey , fans sang ”Let It Be” while holding up their cellphones with the flash on. Referee Kevin Pollock announced the call on the ice had been overturned , starting a long-awaited celebration.
The lead didn’t last long as the Avs rallied.
”It’s not like we didn’t have opportunities,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”They did a pretty good job in front of him. We had lots of looks, lots of opportunities. We couldn’t get in.”
The Avalanche came into the postseason with goalie Semyon Varlamov and defenseman Erik Johnson sidelined by knee injuries, then defenseman Samuel Girard missed three games with his own upper-body injury before Jonathan Bernier, Varlamov’s backup, suffered his own lower-body injury. That pushed the Hamburglar into the net.
The Predators started and ended the second period on the power play but couldn’t beat Hammond. Their best scoring chance came with a 4-on-2, but Hammond stopped Roman Josi’s shot and then handled Calle Jarnkrok’s attempt off the rebound at 12:36. Hammond also made a big pad save on Ellis’ slap shot and then stopped another Josi shot late in the period.
NOTES: The Avalanche snapped a seven-game skid in Nashville with the win. They ended a 12-game skid to the Preds overall in Game 3. … Nashville had been perfect last postseason with a chance to clinch a series on its own ice, winning all three series to reach the Stanley Cup Final. … Predators forward Ryan Hartman sat out his suspension for a hit on Carl Soderberg in Game 4.
Game 6 in Denver on Sunday night.
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