INDIANAPOLIS — Lance Stephenson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Darren Collison scored 22 points and the Indiana Pacers rallied from a 22-point, first-half deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 97-95 on Friday night.
The Pacers have won three of four and improved to 3-0 against the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs.
But James had two chances in the final two seconds to win it and missed both opportunities — after Victor Oladipo gave Indiana the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 2:09 left in the game.
First, the four-time MVP stepped out of bounds with 1.7 seconds to go, a play that was confirmed on replay review. Then, after Collison made a free throw to give the Pacers a 97-95 lead, James’ desperation 3 bounced high off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
James also was baited into a technical foul by Stephenson with 7:53 left in the game. A replay review showed James shoving Stephenson in the chest, though TV replays showed Stephenson driving his thumb into James’ side.
Oladipo made the free throw to extend Indiana’s lead to 84-82.
Cleveland, which lost its previous two games by a combined 62 points, was outscored 84-61 over the final three quarters and wound up blowing the lead almost exactly nine months after the Cavs rallied from a 26-point deficit to beat Indiana in the playoffs.
Cavaliers: Jeff Green scored 13 points, all in the first half, and was the only other player in double figures. … It’s the first time in 10 Central Division games Cleveland failed to score at least 100. … Love now has 7,007 career rebounds. … The Cavs were 7 of 34 from 3-point range and wound up shooting 43 percent overall after shooting 59.1 percent in the first quarter.
Pacers: Oladipo finished with 19 points while Domantas Sabonis had 12 points and 15 rebounds. … It’s the first time Indiana has beaten Cleveland three times in a season since 2013-14. … Indiana was 10 of 21 on 3s just two days after going a season-worst 1 of 18 from beyond the arc. … The Pacers are 17-5 when making 10 or more 3s in a game.
Cavaliers: Host Golden State on Monday.
Pacers: Begin a five-game road trip at Phoenix on Sunday.
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