The Indiana Pacers knew that they needed to take Game 1 because stealing a road game is always key. The other factor is that LeBron James won’t let the Cleveland Cavaliers lose Game 2 for the momentum.
It started with a big run by the Pacers as the Cavs got out-hustled. Indiana’s game plan was to use rebounding as a catalyst for their transition game and it worked. The Pacers and Cavs were tied at four before Indiana went on an 18-4 run that saw two and-1 chances by Bojan Bogdanovic to spark the team. The Cavs seemed shell-shocked and unprepared for the energy that Indiana brought.
That theme stayed true for most of the game as seemed unwilling to give too much effort as the Cavs got ran out of their own building in a way.
The Cavs defense was at least in playoff form. Thank god for that, I guess. If anyone would say the Cavs gave up less than 100 points, most people would say the Cavs win the game. That didn’t happen but that’s for the bad section.
J.R. Smith was good off the bench as he scored 15 point on 6 of 11 shooting. He looked good enough to start for the rest of the series and beyond. That should happen if the Cavs want that spark to stay alive in him.
Optimistically, the Cavs most likely won’t shoot that poorly from three again in this series. The Cavs shot 8 of 34 from the 3-point line. They won’t take 34 in the next game, I can almost guarantee that since they shot 23.5 percent. They did outrebound the Pacers, 46-44, and that’s a huge positive as they need to continue to do that to win the series. Kevin Love was not great offensively but did grab 17 rebounds so that’s good to see.
JEFF GREEN. Jeff Green was absolutely the worst basketball player on the court at all times. Without question, he shouldn’t be starting for the rest of the series or the playoffs in general. Larry Nance Jr needs to be playing the 4-5 along with Love. Speaking of Kevin Love, he needs to get a bit more aggressive. He isn’t a ball handler, so he needs to command the ball in certain spots. He was 3 of 8 from the field. Green was 0 of 7. Those two should never take nearly the same amount of shots ESPECIALLY in the playoffs.
It is one game though so those things can be worked on especially with two full off days until Game 2 at home.
Giving my respect
I’m not one to make predictions, it’s just not in my nature but the Pacers did whoop the Cavs’ asses. No doubt about it, They deserve all the respect that no one gave them all year. The Pacers game plan did work to perfection. The Cavs were taking off-balanced, terrible shots all night and that was because of the Pacers’ defense. They gave up 80 points to one of the best scoring teams in the league. That’s a huge credit to Nate McMillan and his team for executing on everything they planned.
Victor Oladipo has been unreal all year and dropped 32 points in his first playoff game as the No. 1 option. He was 6-of-9 (Nice) from the 3-point line and 11-of-19 from the floor with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. That’s an elite game from a guy that has played well all year long.
Unfortunately, the Pacers will need a lot of that to win the series, and that just may not be sustainable. It might be but also guys like Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner need to be even better especially Sabonis who played sloppy.
Overall, the Pacers outplayed the Cavs and that shit happens in the playoffs. Credit to Indiana for playing its game and not the Cavs game instead. Game 2 in Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. on TNT.