Pacers stun LeBron, Cavs, 98-80

  • Pacers stun LeBron, Cavs, 98-80

Pacers stun LeBron, Cavs, 98-80

Victor Oladipo scored 32 points as the Indiana Pacers outplayed the Cleveland Cavliers from the start while pulling off a stunning 98-80 victory in their National Basketball Association play-offs eastern conference series opener. Veteran Al Horford led the team with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum had 19 and 10.

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.

That's right. The Pacers never trailed in an 18-point road win over the three-time Eastern Conference champions, holding Cleveland to its worst offensive rating of the season, but still see room for improvement. However, the Game 1 loss snapped LeBron's 21-game win streak in the first round of the playoffs. The 33-year-old is trying to get to his eighth straight Finals, and already the path is tougher than imagined.

This Cavaliers team obviously isn't as good as the one that defied the odds against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, but they certainly have what it takes to get past the Pacers.

LeBron James had a performance to remember on a night to forget when the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. While the Cavaliers' shooting from the field improved during the quarter, they again delivered some self-inflicted wounds by missing five free throws in the period. Harden, who also had a steal in that span, capped the run with a 3-pointer that prompted Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau to call a timeout. We gave up 98 points, but 80 is not gonna cut it.

Harden got Capela in on the scoring after that, finding him for an alley-oop that pushed the lead to 101-93 with less than three minutes left.

Milwaukee was held to just two field goals over the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter as the Celtics built an 86-76 advantage.

It's a fairly safe bet that Game 2 won't be as ugly offensively as the opener was for Cleveland.

Game two in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday (NZT) in Boston.

James finished the game with a triple-double but it was Victor Oladipo who stole the show and won the game for the Pacers with 32 points. Middleton had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Green's minus-15 in his 27 minutes was the worst on the team, as he contributed almost nothing in the humiliating Game 1 loss. That was a big change for them: remember, last season in Game 3 of their series with Cleveland, they blew a 26 point lead and lost by five. He made 8 of 11 shots from long range, and 13 of 20 shots overall.

As for the story behind the story, Oladipo was asked for his thoughts on Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's statement in the wake of that July trade that in "could have done better" if Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard had opted to bite on a three-way deal that would have sent Cavs center-forward Kevin Love to the Pacers in exchange for George. Myles Turner added 16 points while Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in with 15 points. He returned in the fourth quarter but was noticeably hobbling.