Pacers snap LeBron James' first-round success with 98-80 Game 1 victory
17 April, 2018, 01:37
Indiana's leading scorer, Victor Oladipo, led the way again for the Pacers with 32 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
LeBron James figured he had experienced everything in 12 postseasons.
Turns out, there was something new.
Victor Oladipo and the Indians Pacers stunned the offenseless Cleveland Cavaliers with a 98-80 win to provide IN with a 1-0 lead IN the opening round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
It also was the first playoff-opening loss for James, who came in 12-0 in Game 1s and didn't realize he had been ideal starting the postseason.
"He's a competitor", James said of Stephenson.
IN (48-34) has the best record of any of his first-round opponents, and the Cavs got such a tough matchup only because they went an underwhelming 50-32 and got the No. 4 seed - LeBron's lowest seed in a decade. James did not record a point until making a free throw with 1:52 remaining in the first quarter, as he did his best to get his teammates going on the offensive end.
Regardless, James is not anxious as he and the Cavs have come back from worse predicaments, notably being 3-1 down to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, only to claw their way back and remarkably win the series 4-3. "I was down 3-1 in the finals, so I'm the last guy to ask about how you're going to feel the next couple days".
The NBA playoffs rarely get upsets in the first round, but the Pacers downing the three-time defending East champions would certainly raise some eyebrows. Lance Stephenson had 12 points for Indiana.
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The Pacers shot over 45 percent from the field, hit eleven 3-pointers and forced 16 turnovers.
When the final horn sounded, the Pacers didn't celebrate or run around the floor like they accomplished anything special.
They calmly walked off, business as usual.
"We believe we can win", Oladipo said. "I think the next game, we'll be more relaxed, and we'll come out, we'll play better". That's what we're focused on: "taking it one game at a time, trying to win every game". The Pacers lead the all-time regular season series 97-92 and won three of the four meetings this season: Cleveland took a 115-108 home win in the last matchup on January 26. The rest of Cleveland's starters only managed 25 points, Kevin Love with 17 rebounds but only nine points.
"I've always said that experience is the best teacher", James said. That doesn't mean coming in we just fold.
Harden made seven of 12 three-pointers but the Rockets had their hands full with the eighth seeded Timberwolves.
He also talks about how Gilbert actually wanted to take Oladipo with the first pick in the 2013 draft, but the front office was sold on Anthony Bennett so they went with him.
The 98-80 victory marked the first time since 2012 that LeBron James had lost a first round playoff game.
Although there was an emotional lift for the Cavaliers from George Hill's thunderous one-handed dunk on the fast break in the game's early moments, the Pacers quickly stemmed the tide and turned that negative into a positive. But after the Cavs fell 98-80 to the Pacers in the opener of this Eastern Conference first round series, their synopsis was unanimous.They weren't ready.
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