LeBron James, who won 21 straight games in the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs leading into this series, had a triple-double for the Cavaliers thanks to 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Cleveland, meanwhile, shot 38.5 percent from the floor including 23.5 percent from deep (8 of 34). He helped bring two championships to the franchise and promised the city of Cleveland he would do the same for them. This year will look quite a bit different, however, as Cleveland no longer has three of their top five scorers (Irving, Deron Williams, and Channing Frye) from that series and IN no longer has their top two (Paul George and Jeff Teague).
The Pacers set the tone for the entire game with a dominant first half, which included a 33-14 Pacers lead after one quarter. The Cleveland Cavaliers are shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc and 77.9 percent from the free throw line. In fairness, so have the Pacers, on account of Turner's limitations in the post and when up against true strength, so a healthy and active Kevin Love could feast against a team that struggles to defend his strongest areas and fails to clean its own defensive glass.More news: 'Rampage' Stomps Past 'A Quiet Place' for $34.5 Million Box Office Win
"We were just sloppy with the ball". In the first quarter, Nance Jr. had six points and no one else had more than two.
Since that major roster shakeup, the Cavs are 19-10 with the East's fourth-best net rating (4.0), trailing the 76ers (11.1), Raptors (7.5) and Heat (4.3).
"They came in and they dictated the tempo, they were more aggressive", James added. But to first get there, they have to put up a dominant performance against the Pacers. Lue said. "You've gotta be physical, mentally tough and mentally strong". - While the Cavaliers will use a blitz against Oladipo, the Pacers likely will dare someone other than James to beat them and have a defender sag into the paint as a second layer of protection.More news: Mike Woodson wants to coach Knicks again: 'I hope they call me'
The Wine & Gold will also be seeing a lot of Cory Joseph and LeBron's old friend, Lance Stephenson, over the course of the series. They could also send Victor Oladipo, the team's second-best defender per NBAMath's TPA statistic, out on him, but they rely on him too much on the offensive end to have him be out there all game long. Since 2012, James has not lost a single game in the first round.
"They took advantage of everything what we wanted to do", James said."They were more physical at the point of attack and were more precise with what they wanted to do. Defensively, we were pretty good to concede 98 points but 80 points just isn't going to do it". But we went through a lot in the offseason as well. The fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers are on the road as they face the fourth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of their best of seven series Wednesday night.
The Indiana Pacers look to make an early statement in this series after being one of the bigger surprises in the season already.More news: Jones homers twice in South softball win