Bogdanović Leads Pacers to Victory Over Cavs, Brilliantly Defends Lebron James

Daniela Rogulj

The Indiana Pacers celebrated at home and took the series to 2-1 against Cleveland.

After the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs, Cleveland and Indiana each secured a win – but in their first home game of the duel, the Pacers took the series to 2-1. The Pacers celebrated 92-90, primarily thanks to the best player of the encounter, Croatia’s Bojan Bogdanović, reports on April 21, 2018. 

Given the importance of the match, this was arguably the best NBA game of the Croatian basketball player’s career – and Bogdanović achieved a playoff record (11/15 baskets). Bogdanović was particularly impressive with three-pointers, scoring 7 of 9 attempts. Scoring seven three-pointers in a playoff match brings Bogdanović up there with Indiana Pacer greats including Reggie Miller, Paul George and Chuck Person. 

The Cavs even had a 17-point advantage after the first half, but the Pacers, with their brilliant defense, managed to come back. This is the first time this season that Cleveland did not celebrate when they led after the first three quarters, but after 40 games, this win was also important for the Pacers as it happened a year after Indiana fell to the Cavs in the 2017 playoffs.

Bogdanović was given a great deal of credit for this victory. Precisely, Bogdanović hit three of seven three-pointers in the last 6:10 minutes of the game, and during this period, the Croatian representative scored 12 out of 15 points for his team. 

“Bogdanovic did an excellent job,” Pacers guard Lance Stephenson said to ESPN. “I’ll give him a 100 percent on the test. He did a good job on LeBron and hit open shots. Attacked. We saw he could do that throughout the season. But for him to do that in the playoffs is amazing. Bogey manned up.”

LeBron James finished the match with 28 points and 12 rebounds for the 100th double-double in his playoff career, thus equalizing Michael Jordan – though, it was still not enough to be better than Bojan’s side. James also caught up to Kobe Bryant in the number of playoff appearances, and has now achieved his 221st. 

Interestingly, this was the fifth Indiana win in the seven Cavs’ encounters this season, who did not celebrate in their three away matches in Indianapolis. 

The next fight will take place on Sunday, and if the Pacers claim another victory, Cleveland will be in a great deal of trouble.


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