Thursday night's NBA playoff games gave us one of the greatest comebacks in postseason history, a brutal blowout and a classic visit to the "Grindhouse" in Memphis. You know, standard stuff.
The Pacers suffered a demoralizing loss at home in Game 3 against the Cavs and are on the verge of getting swept. The Bucks destroyed the Raptors to take a 2-1 lead in the East's 3-6 matchup. As for the late game, the Grizzlies fought back in Game 3 for their first win of the series, but the Spurs still hold a 2-1 advantage.
Let's take a look at what happened in each playoff game, along with the turning points and X-factors that helped shape the final scores.
NBA playoffs: Scores, highlights
What happened: LeBron James. That's what happened. James had 41 points (14 of 27 from the field, 6 of 12 from 3-point range), 13 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Cavs to an unbelievable come-from-behind win. Cleveland making up a 26-point deficit tied the 2012 Clippers for the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history, and it was also the largest halftime deficit overcome in playoff history (25 points). The Pacers held a 74-49 advantage at halftime and were in complete control. The Cavs came out firing in the second half, outscoring the Pacers 70-40 behind James' absolutely brilliant performance.
Turning point: Cleveland closed the fourth quarter strong and took all of the air out of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but it was the effort in the third quarter that really got the Cavs going. They went on a 10-0 run late in the third, cutting the Indiana lead to 10 and preventing the Pacers from scoring for more than three consecutive minutes. Certainly the Pacers inexplicably turning away from the ball movement that was so successful in the first half helped the Cavs crawl back possession by possession. But give credit to LeBron and Co. for getting stops and converting on the other end.
28 pts, 6 rebs, 7 asts, 0 to. No Cav outside of LeBron has ever done that in a playoff game. LeBron just did that in the second HALF.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) April 21, 2017
X-factor: Let's not even pretend there is anyone else to put here. James was simply masterful, controlling the game as only he can with a balance of timely scoring and precision passing. He put his team on his back and played 45 of a possible 48 minutes while Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love struggled (8 of 29 from the field combined) and failed to see the floor in the fourth quarter. Let's all just appreciate a signature LeBron game.
Highlight you need to see: Back when the Pacers were happy in the first half, Myles Turner had a pretty nasty slam.
And then things changed. LeBron looked like he was trying to rip the rim off the backboard here.
Next game: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (ABC)
What happened: Here's Raptors forward P.J. Tucker to explain Game 3.
PJ “They kicked our ass. They kicked our ass. Period. They came out and played harder, more aggressive, did everything they wanted to do."— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) April 21, 2017
Yep. The Bucks dominated this one from the start and never looked back. Toronto was completely out of sync and had no answers the entire night. Dwane Casey's squad can't play with this kind of effort again, or this series won't last long.
Turning point: Uh, at the tipoff? The Raptors shot 3 of 15 to start the game while the Bucks went 12 of 18. Toronto didn't make a shot outside of the paint until the second quarter. Milwaukee held a 32-12 lead at the end of the first, and it got worse from there.
X-factor: Greg Monroe gave the Bucks fantastic energy and production off the bench. Monroe scored 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and finished plus-17 in 23 minutes. He was a beast in the post on offense. He hedged out hard on screens and moved his feet on defense. This was exactly what you wanted to see out of Monroe as a Bucks fan.
On the other side, DeMar DeRozan didn't give the Raptors much offensively. In fact, DeRozan failed to make a field goal, shooting 0 of 8 from the floor (all of his eight points came at the free-throw line) and finishing minus-23 in 31 minutes. The Bucks did not give him an inch of space, and Tony Snell in particular did a good job of harassing DeRozan on the perimeter. He can't lay another egg like this.
Highlight you need to see: Giannis Antetokounmpo sends Norman Powell's shot into the crowd — oh, and he blocked it with his elbow.
Next game: Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (TNT)
What happened: David Fizdale's "take that for data" rant must have lit a fire under the Grizzlies, because they came out with something to prove. Memphis played with much more aggression and got back to its "Grit and Grind" core. The Grizz offense, which averaged 82 points and shot 39 percent from the field in the first two games of the series, put up 105 points and shot over 50 percent, including 9 of 22 from 3-point range.
Turning point: The Grizzlies took a four-point lead into the locker room at halftime, and they had no plans of giving it up when they came out for the third quarter. They started the third on an 8-0 run and won the quarter 31-17. The Spurs looked a bit sluggish, and no one stopped the bleeding, not even star forward Kawhi Leonard. The MVP candidate needed to take over at that point in the game, but he finished with only 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting after averaging 25.5 points on 17.7 field-goal attempts per game in the regular season.
X-factor: Who else but the "Grindfather" himself? Zach Randolph showed off all of his post and midrange tricks throughout the game, scoring 21 points and snagging eight rebounds in 29 minutes. You could feel the energy increase with Randolph on the floor, and he was instrumental in that third-quarter run.
On a team level, Memphis valued every single possession. The Grizzlies turned the ball over once in the first half and five times the entire game. When you play against the No. 1 defense in the league in terms of defensive efficiency, you can't give away scoring opportunities. The Grizzlies made sure that didn't happen.
Highlight you need to see: Wayne Selden shuts the door on the Spurs with an emphatic dunk.
Next game: Sunday at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)