NBA Game Summary - Indiana at Cleveland
(Wednesday, March 17th)
Final Score: Cleveland 99, Indiana 94
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James nearly had his second straight triple-double, finishing with 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers captured their second straight Central Division title with a 99-94 win over the Indiana Pacers.
James, who is now three points shy of 15,000 for his career, added three steals and two blocks for the Cavs, who have won five straight to capture back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history.
"Any time you can put a banner up for this franchise, it's great," James said. "It's a great tribute to the fans, this organization, the players and the coaching staff and everyone around it. It's big."
Antawn Jamison added 17 points and nine rebounds, while J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao each had 13 in the victory, Cleveland's 24th in 28 games.
Roy Hibbert had 20 points lead the Pacers, who lost their 10th straight game in Cleveland and ninth straight on the road overall. Troy Murphy provided 19 points and 15 rebounds, and A.J. Price had 14 points in defeat.
Indiana played without Danny Granger, who suffered an upper cheek injury after being elbowed in a game on Tuesday. T.J. Ford (groin) also sat out.
Indiana trailed by 16 heading to the fourth but made a furious rally.
"I think that we rallied together as a team towards the end," Hibbert said. "We got back into it. The Cavs are an extremely good team, but I think when we play a game together, we can really be a dangerous team because we have extremely good three-point shooters, and we've got guys who can slash to the basket and score in the paint."
Brandon Rush capped a quick 8-0 burst in the opening moments with a short jumper to trim the deficit to 83-73, and a Murphy triple with 7:13 to go had the visitors within 87-82.
The Pacers got as close as one on an Earl Watson jumper with just under five minutes to go before James took over.
"I sensed we were a little low on energy tonight in all perspectives of the game," James said. "Even when we went up, we lost a lot of energy to start the fourth quarter. Being a leader, I just try to give as much as possible to win the ball game."
Rush went up for a go-ahead layup, but the reigning NBA MVP swatted the ball away against the backboard, which led to a Varejao layup. Varejao then stole the ball away and lofted up an alley-oop pass for James, who pulled off a reverse dunk amid three defenders.
A James fadeaway jumper pushed the Cavs' lead to 95-87 with 2 1/2 minutes left, and the Pacers never got within one possession down the stretch.
The Cavaliers grabbed a 30-25 lead after one quarter, but the Pacers clawed back to trail only by two, 50-48, at halftime.
James and the Cavs got hot early in the third quarter, helping the home team create some separation. Cleveland scored the first nine points of the frame, and James capped the spurt with a layup and two free throws for a 59-48 advantage.
James later hit consecutive jumpers -- one from three-point range -- for a 66-50 lead 4 1/2 minutes into the quarter, and he drilled another three moments later for a 17-point cushion.
Cleveland carried an 81-65 edge into the fourth.
The Pacers are 7-30 on the road this year, while the Cavs are a league-best 30-4 at home...Cleveland has won the last four meetings with Indiana and 13 of the last 14...James has four triple-doubles this season, while no other player in the league has more than one...Rush finished with 13 points, and Dahntay Jones had 10 for Indiana.
03/17 23:01:34 ET