NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana PacersApr 20, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) in game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cleveland defeats Indiana 119-114. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) - LeBron James engineered the NBA playoffs' biggest second-half comeback as the Cleveland Cavaliers overturned a 25-point deficit at half-time to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-114 in Game Three of their series on Thursday.
James scored 41 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out 12 assists as the reigning NBA champions beat the Pacers in Indianapolis to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series. It was his 17th career playoff triple-double. Only Magic Johnson, with 30, has more.
“I didn’t know it was the biggest comeback ,” said James, who became the third-highest scorer in the playoffs with 5,670 points, ahead of Kobe Bryant and trailing only Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
"I just try to put myself in position to help my team mates win. I try to empower them, make them better, make them believe we can be great every night.”
Until Thursday, no team had come from more than 21 points behind at half-time to win a playoff game, the previous record set in 1948 by Baltimore against Philadelphia.
The Cavs were down 74-49 at half-time, after earlier trailing by 26 points.
“I don’t settle for being not as great as I can be,” James said. “It’s not going to result in a stat line like this every night. The only thing that matters is the win and that’s what I’m here for.
“To win on the road in the post season is already tough enough. To win in the fashion we did tonight is even tougher.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)