Pacers get ready for Cavs’ counterpunch heading into Game 2
CLEVELAND, Ohio — As the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers commuted to their workouts Tuesday, they drove through temperatures hovering near the freezing mark and steady snow.
Before Game 1, there was no outdoor party in Cleveland celebrating another Cavs’ playoff run, as there is usually before every postseason game.
A driving rain and cold temperatures saw to that.
And now, for the first time in LeBron James’ career, his team is down 0-1 in an opening-round playoff series.
This just doesn’t feel like playoff basketball in Cleveland.
“I would say our intensity, at least until we got hit in the mouth that first quarter, it didn’t quite feel like, I guess, the playoffs,” Cavs forward Kevin Love said. “That’s a weird thing to say. It feels like the playoffs, especially now that we’re down 0-1. We better be ready for it.”
The Pacers won Game 1, 98-80. Game 2 is at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Cleveland.
The Cavs trailed by 20 points before James even attempted a shot on Sunday. Love only scored nine points and Jeff Green was shut out in 27 minutes.
The Pacers, meanwhile, were led by a playoff career high of 32 points from Victor Oladipo. They forced the Cavs into 17 turnovers. Myles Turner scored 16 points. Dating to the regular season, Indiana has won four out of five against the Cavs.
“They underestimate us,” said Indiana reserve Lance Stephenson, who scored 12 points. “They didn’t think we would get this far and they didn’t think we was going to win that many games, but if you look at our team, I guess you could say we don’t have that one player or the type of players that stand out and that’s why they underestimate us.”
Whereas the Pacers sound confident they can pull a historic upset — James’ teams have never lost a first-round series — the Cavs seem to believe James will set a different tone on Wednesday.
Yes, James posted a triple double in Game 1 (24 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists), but he was clearly passive for the first 11 minutes. James is coming off arguably his finest of 15 pro seasons and averaged 29.5 points, 9.8 boards, and 10.0 assists in his last 30 games.
If that LeBron shows up, coach Tyronn Lue things the Cavs will be fine.
“When he sets the tone early for us, we’re usually a really good team,” Lue said. “So coming out, set the tone early, be able to call plays that feature him early to be aggressive. He’s always going to make the right play and the right pass, get others involved, but tomorrow we’re going to need him to set the tone early, being aggressive and attacking the basket.”
The Pacers received 15 points from Bojan Bogdanovic, but he shot 5-of-17. Darren Collison was 2-of-9 shooting.
The game was so lopsided and the Cavs scored the second fewest points of their season, but the Pacers enter Game 2 feeling like they could still be better, too.
“They’re going to see what they can do from the previous game until now, even us we gotta be better,” Collison said. “There are some things we can improve on. I was looking at the film and we can do better in a lot of different areas so we can’t just take Game 1 and say we won and don’t have to do any improvements. We can be a whole lot better.”
Cavs point guard George Hill left Sunday’s game in the third quarter with a sore back, sustained on an illegal screen by Trevor Booker in the second quarter. Hill is expected to play Wednesday.