Myles Turner helped spark Indiana's elite defensive effort by scoring 16 points with eight rebounds and a block.
IN took control from the outset, opening a 21-point lead in the first quarter and pushing it to 23 in the third. The most common way to score a triple double in the National Basketball Association is through points, assists, and rebounds - like James managed to do (24 points with 12 assists and 10 rebounds) against the Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. He's never lost a first-round series.
The Cavs fell behind 33-12 during a odd first quarter that included Cleveland missing all eight 3-pointers, James not attempting his first field goal until 1:52 remained and fans in Quicken Loans Arena wondering what they were seeing. "It's only Game 1".
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 flawless starting the postseason. "We take it one game at a time and whether we win or we lose, we want to come out and be better than we were in our last game". He had averaged more than 27 points per game in the playoffs for the Pacers the past two years. The Cavs made only 8 of their 34 three-point attempts. But we're certainly dealing with the same LeBron James. "They came in and they were aggressive in Game 1".
"We've been playing like this all year", he said. Following the game, LeBron described his viewpoint on the individual battle: "He don't back down from nobody, and I definitely don't as well". Just when it looked like LeBron and the Pacers were ready to play out an old familiar script, IN stepped on the gas and turned things into a blowout.
It's a bit concerning if you're a Cavaliers fan that the other four-fifths of the starting lineup managed a total of one more point (25) than James scored himself (24) in the opener.
That experience means the three-time champion isn't anxious about this latest hole that Cleveland is in.
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Stephenson, when asked about his contributions to the Pacers' emphatic 98-80 win, described his energy as "contagious". "We'll see what they're going to do".
Wednesday night's game two at Quicken Loans Arena has now turned into their biggest game of the season. Love had just nine points, six of which came in the third quarter when Cleveland cut the deficit, but he went scoreless in the fourth. He also turned the ball over five times and had just four assists.
The Pacers know how hard it will be to win two games in a row in Cleveland.
"We had some good looks that we wanted and that just didn't fall".
The "Lance vs. LeBron" storyline is an old favorite for both the local and national media.
Cleveland was ice cold out of the gates and things didn't get better as the game wore on.