The defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers open the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers this afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena. Those Pacers, though, didn't have Oladipo (32 points) or the balance of this Indy squad, which may lack experience but not confidence.
It didn't happen. The 6-foot-10, 251-pounder averaged 19.0 points and 11.1 rebounds while playing with Irving a season ago.
IN led by as many as 23 points and held the Cavs to the lowest points at home this term.
The Cavs are still favorites to win the conference, thanks nearly entirely to LeBron James. Now, the fun part starts as the Cavaliers tip off the postseason with Game 1 of their First Round matchup against IN on Sunday afternoon at The Q. The Pacers ranked 17th in points per game this season.
Game 2 is Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers never led, but battled hard in the second-half before coming up well short. If Curry is back for what is an expected showdown series with the Rockets in the conference finals, they'll be the best in the West yet again.
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"If we're playing with pace and pushing the basketball, a five's first instinct is to get back to the basket", Lue said. The Indiana Pacers have split their last eight road games. Coach Tyronne Lue started Hood over Kyle Korver, who has lingering soreness in his right foot and was on a minutes' restriction. James finished with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his 20th career playoff triple-double.
Kevin Love spoke to ESPN before the playoffs started and admitted that James' pending free agency "definitely could" impact what happens in the playoffs, though he also made it clear that he has his own lingering thoughts about the future. The Cavs vs Pacers series has all the markings of going the distance.
The Pacers, who dominated most of the game, shot 45.6 percent while holding the Cavaliers to 39 percent.
The Indiana Pacers are set to face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs. "I feel like I just have to go out there and play my game". IN quickly went on a 12-2 run to restore a 17 point lead and that was that.
The Miami Heat, the No. 2 seed that season, lost to the No. 7 seed New York Knicks in Game 4 of the first round. Despite the changes, IN may be better than a year ago, finishing at 48-34 instead of the 42-40 they had with Paul George at the helm. The defense has been atrocious, and the chemistry doesn't seem to be there, a side effect of having nearly two full teams take the court in one season. "They came in and they were aggressive in Game 1".