CLEVELAND Youth Darnell Nurse Jersey , Ohio — The Indiana Pacers are in no better position to pull off a historic upset in this first-round playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers than when they awoke Sunday morning.
The Pacers had a chance to put the Cavs, at the time reeling with playoff inexperience and the crushing weight of expectations with LeBron James, squarely behind the eight ball in this series by winning Game 4.
But Indiana fell behind by a huge deficit in the first half for the second consecutive game, erased it in the third and early fourth quarters again, but couldn’t sustain the momentum. Kyle Korver and James made enough plays down the stretch for the Cavs to win, 104-100, tying this series at 2-2 with Game 5 on Wednesday in Cleveland.
James has never lost a first-round series in 12 previous playoffs. Now, he has two of the next three games at home to try and keep his streak alive.
“I think just tying the series up and coming back home is something we feel good about,” said Kevin Love Chris Thompson Jersey , who like every other Cav not named James has mostly struggled in this series. “We feel like it’s a best-of-three type series and at the end of the day, if it comes to it, we have two games at home. We like our advantage and we’re going to use that to our advantage (Wednesday) night.”
The Pacers trailed by 17 at halftime of Game 3 but steamrolled the Cavs in the second half and pulled out a 92-90 win behind 30 points from Bojan Bogdanovic, a playoff career high. They were down 10 through two quarters in Game 4 but fought back and were ahead 93-91 with 3:49 remaining before Korver connected on two deep 3s.
Indiana won Game 1 behind a playoff career-high 32 points from Victor Oladipo, who has struggled since (19-of-53 shooting in the last three games). Domantas Sabonis played a big role in the Pacers’ comeback Sunday, scoring a playoff career-best 19 off the bench.
The Pacers are getting the best night of someone’s playoff career almost each game of this series, and it’s been good enough for two wins. Then again, the Cavs’ two wins were by a combined seven points, and outside of James (32.5 ppg this series) almost no one is scoring.
Love is the next closest at 12.0 points in this series and JR Smith is third with 10.0 points.
“We’re not losing confidence Matthias Farley Jersey ,” point guard Darren Collison said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “This team is the defending Eastern Conference champions. Whatever you want to say about them, this is a very good team. They’ve been through a lot over the last few years. We’re fine. There’s no need to overreact or panic. We’re going to go into their building and we’re going to give the same effort.”
The Cavaliers say point guard George Hill (back spasms) is questionable to play in Game 5. He missed Game 4 with the same injury — four injections before the game were not enough to ease the pain to the point where he could play.
Jose Calderon started for Hill on Sunday and scored five points in 19 minutes. The Cavs are 24-9 this year (regular season and playoffs) when Calderon starts.
Hill is the only player on either team listed on the injury report. But Love suffered an injury to his left thumb in Game 1 and it’s affected him. He’s shooting 17-of-47 in the series with 11 turnovers. Catching and gripping the ball have been obvious problems.
“I’ve been able to get up a lot of shots,” Love said. “I think initially it was painful and in the few days that followed, but now it’s kind of subsided and I’m just getting my feel back in my left thumb.”
Leading the Bills to their first playoff appearance in 18 years wasn’t enough for Tyrod Taylor to secure his long-term future in Buffalo.
The Bills are starting over at quarterback after agreeing to trade their three-year starter to the Cleveland Browns on Friday, according to two people with direct knowledge of the trade. Cleveland is sending its first pick in the third round to Buffalo.
They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because NFL rules prohibit trades from being announced until next week when free agency opens and the league’s new calendar year begins.
The Browns added a proven starter in Taylor a year after going 0-16 on a day they also traded quarterback DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers.
The Bills, by comparison, elected to move on from a quarterback who didn’t fit their long-term plans.
The Bills were preparing to release Taylor a year ago, before he agreed to restructure his contract by reducing it from a five-year to a two-year term.
General manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott provided no assurances over the past two months that Taylor would remain the team’s starter entering next season.
The trade was made a week before the Bills were due to pay Taylor a $6 million roster bonus.
Taylor’s departure leaves the Bills with a significant hole at the position with Nathan Peterman – a fifth-round draft pick last year – the only quarterback left on their roster.
One option is adding one of the many experienced quarterbacks expected to be available once the free agency period opens.
And then there’s the growing possibility of the Bills selecting one in the draft in April. With the addition of Cleveland’s third-round selection Rick Nash Jersey , Buffalo now has two picks in each of the first three rounds, including the 21st and 22nd overall.
The large haul of draft picks provides Beane plenty of assets to use in trades in the event he elects to move up higher in the draft order.
Beane said at the NFL’s rookie combine in Indianapolis 10 days ago that he planned to meet with every quarterback prospect available to be drafted.
The Browns were expected to target a quarterback in free agency, but instead have landed the dynamic Taylor. Cleveland is still expected to take a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Earlier, the Browns worked out a trade with Miami for three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
Though noted for his mobility, Taylor was never able to overcome questions about his deficiencies as a passer and performing in the clutch in posting a 23-21 record in Buffalo.
Following two consecutive losses that dropped Buffalo’s record to 5-4 last season, McDermott made what he called a ”calculated risk” to bench Taylor in favor of the raw and untested Peterman. The decision backfired immediately after Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Taylor regained the starting job the following week and finished the season winning three of his final five starts, with both losses coming against New England. He then went 17 of 37 for 134 yards passing and an interception before being sidelined by a concussion in the final minutes of Buffalo’s 10-3 loss to Jacksonville in an AFC wild-card playoff game.
As recently as the rookie combine, McDermott hedged when asked to provide Taylor a vote of confidence.
McDermott said that while cutting Taylor was not part of the team’s current plans, he wouldn’t rule out trading the quarterback.
Taylor’s mobility was his strength. He set Bills records for yards rushing among quarterbacks in each of his first two seasons.
He was Michael Grabner Jersey , however, inconsistent in the passing attack in drawing criticism for being hesitant in the pocket and failing to find open receivers downfield. Including his one playoff start, Taylor was 2-14 when attempting 30 or more passes.
Taylor was at least an efficient quarterback by throwing 51 touchdowns versus just 14 interceptions in 44 games with Buffalo.
The Bills finished last season 29th in total yards and 31st in yards passing.
Not all of Buffalo’s offensive struggles could be blamed entirely on Taylor given the Bills’ patchwork and injury-depleted group of receivers. Jordan Matthews and Kelvin Benjamin, both acquired in trades, missed significant stretches because of injuries.
The quarterback change comes at a time McDermott has shuffled his offensive coaching staff. Rick Dennison was fired after just one season as coordinator and replaced by Brian Daboll, who spent last season overseeing national champion Alabama’s offense. Daboll also has extensive NFL experience, including offensive coordinator jobs with the Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins.
Taylor signed with Buffalo as a free agent in 2015 after spending his first four NFL seasons serving as Joe Flacco’s backup in Baltimore. He then emerged as the Bills season-opening starter after winning a three-way competition between Matt Cassel and returning starter EJ Manuel.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.
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