CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Indiana Pacers Victor Oladipo said Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert provided him with extra motivation, as he posted 32 points, 6 rebounds 4 assists and 4 steals in their 98-80 victory Sunday over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the series opener, handing James and the Cavaliers’ their first loss in the opening round in eight years.
“We believe that we can win,” Oladipo said. “We came into this game with a mentality that we wanted to attack on both ends of the floor and play the way we’ve been playing all year, and we did a great job of that. It’s only one game, it’s only Game 1.”
Head Coach Nate McMillian and the Indiana Pacers took control from the tip off, jumping out to a 21-point lead in the first quarter and pushing it to 23 in the third. The Pacers completely outplayed the three-time defending conference champions starting five, holding Cleveland’s four other starters (Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rodney Hood and George Hill) to a combined 25 points.
The Cavs went just 8 of 34 on 3-pointers and missed eight of 20 free throws.
“They were more aggressive,” James said. “They just played inspired basketball and they just took advantage of everything we wanted to try and do. They were more physical than us at the point of attack, and they were most precise with what they wanted to do and we couldn’t score the ball.”
Lebron James scored 24 points with 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his 20th career triple-double – surpassing Michael Jordan (2,188) for the second-most made field goals in playoff history.
☠☠ BORN READY ☠☠ pic.twitter.com/X6Ff1nqfMy
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) 15 april 2018
Who will lead their team to the next round. It seems that both Lebron James and Victor Oladipo have something to prove in the competition of the sport.
Oladipo said Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert provided him with extra motivation, citing his offseason remark that Indiana should have received better talent from Oklahoma City in return for Paul George. “You could say it added fuel to the fire,” Oladipo said. “I’m aware of what he said. Can’t control his opinion.”
Lebron James whose chasing NBA Greatness lost his first game in the opening round of the playoffs -after coming in 12-0 in Game 1s. Can Bron turn it up and make the adjustments during his showdown with the nagging defense of Lance Stephenson?
“Is it?” James said. “I’ve never lost a game in the first round before in my career?
“I’m down 0-1 in the first round,” he said. “I was down 3-1 in the Finals. So, I’m the last guy to ask about how you’re going to feel the next couple days.”
Keep in mind that Indiana has been eliminated by James four times in the past eight seasons and they aven’t won a series since beating Washington in six games in the 2014 semifinals.
Written by Andrew Mitchell for Woodlawn Post Sports
Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)