Cavaliers wake up too late to overcome Pacers | Jeff Schudel

16 April, 2018, 11:56 | Author: Virgil Todd
  • LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers

In his post-game press conference, LeBron had some pretty big comments about the Cavaliers playoff hopes following the big loss.

James has often said Game 1 of a playoff is a feel-out game.

LeBron's exit from Cleveland will be easier after first round loss.

But while he knows the narrative before Wednesday night's Game 2 will be on the struggles of Cleveland's playoff newcomers, James isn't anxious.

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic previously discussed the 2013 draft from the Cavs' perspective, noting Oladipo was a favorite of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, but the front office voted 9-1 to draft Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall.

If you think their 98-80 victory in Game 1 of the teams' first-round Eastern Conference series was one of those "plucky underdog steals one from blasé favorite" flukes, you weren't paying close attention to what played out over 48 minutes on Cleveland's home court.

The Pacers are feeling confident after beating the Cavs for fourth time this season.

IN was in control from the outset, opening a 21-point lead in the first quarter and leading by 23 in the third. The Cavs got within seven in the fourth, but Oladipo, once a role player who blossomed into an All-Star in his first season with in, hit a big 3-pointer and Bojan Bogdanovic helped put Cleveland away with a 3 to make it 88-71.

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The Pacers ran out to a big lead right in the first 6 minutes of the game. It came up recently, obviously, because we were playing the Cavs in the series, but I'm aware of what he said. "We came into this game playing with a mentality that we were gonna attack on both ends of the floor and play like we've been playing all year".

James scored 24 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his 20th career triple-double. No other starter broke the double figures mark in scoring though Kevin Love did grab 17 rebounds: J.R. Smith (15 points) and Larry Nance Jr. At the top of the list: the Cavs' have multiple players without any prior playoff experience, and a lot of them looked either scared or hurt.

"They were more physical and more aggressive than us, and in the playoffs, those teams win", Lue said.

The Cavaliers looked like a mish-mashed group of new faces, some of whom may have been taken aback by the playoff intensity, rather than a team that is seeking to make its fourth straight Finals.

Well, it's now going to take a first-round comeback.

And that's fine! LeBron in the first round of the playoffs has been won of the surest bets in sports; he hadn't lost a game in the opening round since 2o12. The 33-year-old is trying to get to his eighth straight Finals, and already the path is tougher than imagined.

Indeed, James and the Cavs crawled back from a 3-1 deficit to a record-setting Golden State Warriors team in the 2016 NBA Finals to capture the first championship in franchise history. IN was swept by Cleveland in last year's opening round. Those Pacers, though, didn't have Oladipo or the balance of this Indy squad, which may lack experience but not confidence. Take the points and the Pacers in this one as it's a tighter contest.

"He's hurt us this year", Lue said of Collison.

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