Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James flicks out a pass against the Indiana Pacers' Bojan Bogdanovic. Victor Oladipo looked every bit the All Star he is, pouring down 32 points, six rebounds, four assists, and four steals in 36 minutes of play. No. 23 scored 12 of Cleveland's 24 points in the second quarter as he tried to keep the wine and gold in the game before the start of the second half.
LeBron James led the Cavs with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds but Cleveland struggled mightily to find any consistency.
Game 2 of this first-round series is at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Cleveland.
Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (42) shoots the ball over Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during game one of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. They shot just 25 percent as a team from the field in the opening quarter. The teams split two previous playoff series with the Cavaliers holding a 5-4 edge in game victories. This is the first time James lost Game 1 of a first-round series and his first loss in a first-round series since May 6, 2012 (snapping a string of 21 wins)."I've always stayed even keeled with the postseason", James said. "I think the next game, we'll be more relaxed, and we'll come out, we'll play better". Oladipo certainly made the Pacers worth watching in Game 1. (All of ESPN's experts picked the Cavs, for example.) That's despite the Pacers having a better point differential for the year, and despite IN having won three of their four regular season games.
LeBron James figured he had experienced everything in 12 postseasons.
Sunday marked just the second nationally televised game for the Pacers all season, with the other coming when George made his return to IN with the Thunder.
"We've been playing like this all year", Oladipo said. Though, few people expected them to win in Cleveland in Game 1. 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.
Instead, they have an inexperienced mix of players as the likes of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. made their playoff debuts. "We've got to be ready for anything they throw our way". IN was swept by Cleveland in last year's opening round. For us, it's about going out and giving all we have playing the game the right way, playing the game together. 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. It's only one game. "We've got to match their physicality starting off and just play with a better pace offensively".
The "Lance vs. LeBron" storyline is an old favorite for both the local and national media.
Kevin Love was one point (9) away from a double-double, but with his 17 rebounds he passed Anderson Varejao (405) for the most rebounds in Cavaliers postseason history. 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.