Cavaliers-Pacers: LeBron James quarterbacks win to even series — Bill Livingston (photos)

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan, Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey, and LeBron James’ own coach Ty Lue all speak of him as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ “quarterback.”This fierce first-round NBA Playoff series with the Pacers, now tied, 2-2, after the Cavs’ 104-100 win Sunday night, often seems to devolve into sort of LeBron — “Boo! Boo!” said the leather-lunged “Boo-sier” State fans repeatedly at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Sunday night — against everyone in Indiana except Bobby Knight (too old) and those doughty kids from Hickory High (too young, at least in the movie.)Cavs ballJames finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. He was particularly effective with a lethal spin move that, unlike an actual quarterback’s escape from destruction in the football pocket, makes Cavs’ opponents inherit the whirlwind.The competing narrative to superstar-centric ball is the eternal truths of five-man basketball, as practiced by the Pacers.Pacers ballThe Pacers have seven players who were in double figures in assists during the regular season. The Cavs had five. The Pacers have a good team, full of vim and expectation of bigger tomorrows.Inside the statistics is a vast discrepancy in style of play between the teams. James’ 747 assists were over 600 more than J.R. Smith’s next-best total of 141.The Pacers had Darren Collison, their point guard, with 368 assists, shooting guard Victor Oladipo with 323, facilitator Cory Joseph with 260 and firebrand Lance Stephenson with 235.It should be easier on a team of five players who can all pass and shoot to make big plays because the defense has to have a more diffuse focus.How the Cavs wonThe Cavs, even with James, won’t win often with Kevin Love shooting only two for 10 and scoring five points. Love played only two minutes in the first quarter due to foul trouble. So James had to be a quarterback worthy of a basketball Canton, despite his uncertain supporting cast.

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