(All of ESPN’s experts picked the Cavs, for example.) That’s despite the Pacers having a better point differential for the year, and despite IN having won three of their four regular season games.
Teams that lost Game 1 of a best-of-seven series at home have won the series just 48% of the time.
“I’ve always stayed even-keeled with the postseason”, James said after registering his 20th career playoff triple-double with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He logged 44 minutes and shot 7-of-17 with three turnovers.
James, seeking his ninth career trip to the National Basketball Association finals and fourth league title, had not dropped a first-round playoff game since the New York Knicks beat Miami in the fourth game of the 2012 opening round, a minor setback on the Heat’s title run, a career first for James.
“I have no idea, and I really don’t care”, Oladipo said, pausing after “idea” for effect. For the first time in James’ career he has lost the opening game in the playoffs.
One bad game isn’t going to change that.
Jeff Green, the biggest culprit after shooting 0-for-7, acknowledged his role in the loss. He averaged 32 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocks as Cleveland swept IN en route to a third straight conference crown. Kyle Korver was 0-of-3.
Jordan Clarkson, making his playoff debut, was 2-for-6 from the field.
Victor Oladipo dropped 32 points to lead the Pacers, but the team’s effort to hold the Cavaliers under 80 points was more impressive. When whatever team emerges from the West makes the Cavaliers look like they did on Sunday over the course of an entire series, and LeBron sees the championship window of this hastily put-together roster slam shut as he heads toward free agency, then you have permission to panic, Cleveland.
“LeBron is a freak of his own”, said Oladipo, who has blossomed in his first year with Indiana.
This one was only briefly close.
Once the fourth quarter came, it was Oladipo’s time to shine.
Love struggled for most of the first half, when the Cavs dug themselves the massive hole they were eventually buried in, not hitting his first shot – a 3-pointer – until 1:53 remained. The quarter finished with the Pacers in a commanding position, leading 33-14.
BOSTON – Al Horford had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Boston overcame Khris Middleton’s long 3 that beat the fourth-quarter buzzer to top Milwaukee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series. I wouldn’t blame them for their overconfidence, considering the fact that LeBron has made the finals seven years in a row. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting into him because they’re playing a hard three quarters, so our guards got to be able to deliver the ball on target and he has to be aggressive when he gets it”.