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Cavaliers playoff run off to a rocky start

17 April 2018

Cleveland had won 14 straight first-round games, last losing on April 22, 2010, the last season of James' first stint with the Cavs. The Pacers had a chip on their shoulder for the entire game and acted like it, playing with great intensity and hustle. Take the points and the Pacers in this one as it's a tighter contest.

LeBron James had a performance to remember on a night to forget when the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

You could say Lance Stephenson hit the hardest, as the Pacers' guard was called for two fouls in particular against LeBron James that caused the Cavs' star to wince or fall to the ground.

On Sunday, the hostile atmosphere at Quicken Loans Arena had a similar effect on Stephenson, who had a strong showing off the bench, scoring 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting and grabbing five rebounds in just 17:26. The Cavs were no match to the Pacers, as the latter torched to an 18-point win, 98-80, in their first post-season showdown.

The Wine and Gold have just four players on their roster from that historic title-winning squad and are missing the brilliance of Kyrie Irving to help James carry the load.

In the late game, league Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate James Harden exploded for 44 points as the Houston Rockets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101.

But you wouldn't have known it from the Pacers' demeanor as they fielded questions from the media on Monday. With all the nerves out of their system, the Cavs will take control of the series.

"We believe we can win", Oladipo said. He shot an absurd 66% from three, while his average for the year is 37%.

Hill went 3-for-7 for seven points in just 19 minutes - Lue said he suffered a back injury but expected the point guard to be ready for Game 2 - and Hood went 4-for-8, including 1-for-4 from behind the arc, and 0-for-2 on free throws for nine points in almost 21 minutes.

It's a fairly safe bet that Game 2 won't be as ugly offensively as the opener was for Cleveland. Now this wasn't just a regular off night because it was so bad that is must be a fluke.

This series was expected by just about everyone to be a Cavs win. First of all, they will make sure to get to the rack more. But James got little help as Cleveland's four other starters - Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rodney Hood and George Hill - combined for 25 points.

"I think the intensity", James said when asked where the Cavs tripped.

Just because one improbable thing doesn't mean another will. It is fantastic to me that Tristan Thompson only played two minutes this game. The Pacers will look to get more from guys like Darren Collison, Domantas Sabonis and Thaddeus Young as the series wears on.

Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, and Carmelo Anthony added 15 points for the Thunder Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but he left in the second half with left foot soreness.

"We had some guys in their first time out there playing in this setting and they definitely".

Cavaliers playoff run off to a rocky start