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17 April 2018, 02:03 | Tracey Rhodes
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LeBron James did not have his best game when the Cleveland Cavaliers were blown out by the Indiana Pacers in their first playoff game on Sunday, and his coach is calling for him to adjust his style of play heading into Game 2. The result was all the more stunning when you consider the opposition, led by four-time MVP LeBron James, who had not lost a single first-round playoff game in almost six years.
James finished with a triple-double (24 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds) in the 98-80 loss Sunday. It will be up to him to get the offense going early, be a leader on the defensive side to frustrate the Pacers to set the tone, and help the Cavaliers grab momentum of the game and series.
Instead, they have an inexperienced mix of players as the likes of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. made their playoff debuts. The IndianaPacers spent most of the season in secrecy. "(James) just said, 'We got to be more aggressive offensively, me being aggressive.' That's about it". The Cavaliers swept the Pacers in last year's first round. The chief culprits in watching that deficit grow were the Cavaliers' miserable shooting during the quarter, connecting on just 5-of-20 (25 percent) from the field, while also committing six turnovers. "That first quarter set the tone". Cleveland's only hope for a deep run is to be an elite offensive unit.
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Although Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love pulled down 17 rebounds, assisted on two baskets, stole a pass and blocked one shot in Game 1, he took only eight shots and made just three, all of which were three-pointers, on the way to nine points in the loss. We're fully aware of his team, and we realize it's not going to be easy, but that doesn't mean we're just going to come in here and just fold. For us, it's about going out and giving all we have playing the game the right way, playing the game together.
"(Eight shots) is not enough", Lue said.
Ten months later, both George and Oladipo are thriving for their respective teams, helping them secure Game 1 wins in the playoffs. In the final minute of the first quarter, he caught the ball at the top of the key and drove down the lane, rising up over Cleveland forward Jeff Green for a vicious right-handed dunk that gave IN a 30-10 lead. Over the remainder of the period, they managed to chip away at that lead by preventing the Pacers from hitting any of their field-goal attempts for a seven-minute span.
Cleveland fought back to cut the deficit to 7 at 70-63, but IN responded with a 3 from Darren Collison to push the lead to 10.
"They played more physical than we did and it showed", Smith said". "We come to work and put our hard hats on and we all believe in each other".
The Cavaliers continued their push in the early stages of the final period, with James' layup with 10:29 to go in the game making it a seven-point contest at 76-69.
Last year, the Cavs scored at least 106 points in all 13 playoff games against the East. We couldn't score the ball, and obviously in this league, you gotta score the ball. "It's going to be a good series".
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