7Th heaven lebron carries cavaliers past pacers in game 7 wjax-tv gas natural fenosa

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Unwilling to sit despite battling leg cramps in the second half, James scored 45 points and got some much-needed help from his teammates in Game 7 to stay unbeaten in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, leading the Cavaliers to a 105-101 win on Sunday over the Indiana Pacers, who pushed the game’s best player to the breaking point.

James added nine rebounds, seven assists and played over 43 minutes while improving to 13-0 in the first round. He kept Cleveland’s strange season alive – for the time being – but it took everything the 33-year-old and the Cavs had to hold off the Pacers, who came in confident after a 34-point win in Game 6.

Early in the game, James looked at agent Rich Paul sitting courtside and told him he wasn’t coming out. James then played the first 35 minutes before heading to the locker room with one minute left in the third to be treated for what he said was "a little minor injury." James said he was urged to get IV fluids but turned them down.

"It felt like a Game 7," he said. "It was like, your mind is thinking like, ‘OK, besides the two I played in the Finals, you start thinking like, is this it? Could this be it?’ That’s just human nature. And then the other side of my brain was like, ‘Let’s go make something happen. Let’s go, that’s what you here for. You’re here to make plays, you’re the leader.’"

The Cavs got a huge lift from Tristan Thompson, who played just 24 minutes in the first six games but made a rare start as Cavs coach Tyronn Lue used his 34th different starting lineup this season. Thompson added 15 points and 10 rebounds, Kevin Love made four 3-pointers, and George Hill returned after missing three games with back spasms to score 11 in 19 second-half minutes.

"Five guys in double figures," said Lue, who has taken heat for some decisions in the series. "But I’m just happy Tristan, because he’s been here with us for so long and been through all of the things we’ve been through over the course of the last four years, and to step in and play the way he did, I’m just so happy for him."

A loss would not only have ended the Cavs’ season earlier than expected and their reign as three-time conference champs, but it would have pushed James closer to free agency. He’s expected to opt out of his contract in July to test the market, and there’s already a line of teams stretching from Philly to L.A. looking to sign the three-time champion.

Pacers: Both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis fouled out. … Stephenson picked up his second technical of the series when he hit James in the head on a first-quarter drive. … Dropped to 3-6 in Game 7s, with all of the losses coming on the road.

Cavaliers: James won his fifth straight Game 7. … By picking off a pass midway through the second quarter, James became the career playoff leader in steals. He entered the game tied with Scottie Pippen (395) for the most postseason thefts. … Celebrated the 42nd anniversary of the "Miracle at Richfield" in 1976, when the Cavs defeated the Washington Bullets in Game 7 of the conference semifinals. Cleveland’s fans stormed the court and tore down both baskets.