Cavs drop Game 1 to Pacers, 98-80


LeBron James figured he had experienced everything in 12 National Basketball Association play-offs campaigns.

Turns out, there was something new. For the first time in James' career he has lost the opening game in the playoffs.

"Is it?" James said. However, this game was mainly lost because the Cavs underestimated the Pacers.

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

If you thought LeBron would be devastated about the blowout or being down 0-1 in the first round, The King isn't sweating it at all. Kevin Love finished with 17 rebounds to go with nine points, but shot 3-of-8 and didn't score until there was 1:53 left in the first half. "I'm sure Victor, somebody might have told him that here in the last couple days".

IN continued their success against the Cavaliers as they beat them for the fourth time in five meetings this season, counting the regular season. The Cavs stormed back and got within seven, but Oladipo hit a big 3-pointer and Bojan Bogdanovic helped put Cleveland away with a 3 to make it 88-71. Nor would you have known it based on the team's subdued reaction as they exited the largely empty arena - most of the sellout crowd was already on their way home well before the final buzzer sounded - on Sunday and made their way back to the locker room.

They calmly walked off, business as usual. Though, few people expected them to win in Cleveland in Game 1. Overall, the Pacers will be satisfied with their performance as they simply outhustled the Cavaliers on both ends of the floor and there was just no running them down.

This is the first postseason experience as a unit for this Pacers team, but make no mistake, this is a veteran group.

The Pacers completely outplayed the three-time defending conference champions, whose turbulent regular season has carried over into the playoffs.

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James had a triple-double - 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. The Cavaliers are clearly going to have to get more from guys like Rodney Hood, George Hill, Love, Jeff Green and company to square the series.

"He just has to be more aggressive by attacking the basket and being more decisive offensively", Lue said. "We're just going to keep proving everyone wrong and play together".

"They were more physical".

Oladipo wasn't seen as a franchise-changing player when IN acquired him along with Domantas Sabonis IN the trade for Paul George. On Sunday, he gave the media, his teammates and the Utah Jazz a formal introduction.

James admitted the revamped Cavaliers were surprised by the Pacers' explosive offence, but they would chalk it up as a lesson learnt ahead of Game 2 in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Harden's 44 points were one shy of tying his playoff career-high and five points shy of tying the Rockets' all-time record. IN came in 15-6 in the playoffs when it wins the opener.

It was all Pacers early on as IN started the game on a blazing 20-6 run, IN due part to the wine and gold not being able to find any rhythm offensively, and struggled to hit shots.

"I'm going to bring it to that level every night", George said.