Pacers at Cavaliers (Game 1)

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Pacers Believe in New Roster in Rematch vs Cavs

April 13, 2018 - Al Jefferson, Thaddeus Young, and Glenn Robinson III remember last year's first-round series with Cleveland and discuss why this year's team is better prepared for the playoffs.

Pregame 180415

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Pacers Believe in New Roster in Rematch vs Cavs

April 13, 2018 - Al Jefferson, Thaddeus Young, and Glenn Robinson III remember last year's first-round series with Cleveland and discuss why this year's team is better prepared for the playoffs.
Apr 13, 2018  |  02:56

Pacers Still Out to Prove Doubters Wrong

April 12, 2018 - Heading into their first-round series with Cleveland, the Pacers find themselves in a familiar position as heavy underdogs. But that doesn't bother them.
Apr 12, 2018  |  02:04

Pacers On Facing LeBron James

April 12, 2018 - During their first media availability since the matchup with Cleveland became finalized, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and players Victor Oladipo and Lance Stephenson talked about how they plan to go about matching up with LeBron James.
Apr 12, 2018  |  02:33

Turner Confident as Playoffs Begin

April 12, 2018 - Pacers center Myles Turner, teammate Victor Oladipo, and head coach Nate McMillan discuss Turner's slump at the end of the regular season and his mindset heading into the playoffs.
Apr 12, 2018  |  02:15

Game Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers (Game 1)

Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 3:30 PM ET at Quicken Loans Arena
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Last Updated: April 15 at 2:15 PM

Matchup

So much about this Pacers season has been different — from the players on the roster to their chemistry off the court to the general level of excitement surrounding a team that vastly exceeded expectations. Yet here the Pacers are, back in the playoffs facing off against a familiar nemesis.

Not only is this year's best-of-seven first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers a rematch of last year's first round (when the Cavaliers swept Indiana, albeit by just 16 total points), but it is the fifth time in the last seven seasons that the Pacers will face off against a LeBron James team in the postseason (Indiana lost to James and the Miami Heat in the second round in 2012 and in the Eastern Conference Finals in both 2013 and 2014).

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James' record speaks for itself. He has led his teams to seven straight NBA Finals, a feat unprecedented in the modern era. His teams have won 21 straight first-round games, a streak so long you have to go back to 2012 to find the last time James lost a single game in the first round. He has never lost a first-round series in his career.

This season has arguably been the most impressive yet for the four-time MVP. James played in all 82 games at age 33 and led the league in minutes while averaging 27.5 points (third in the NBA), 8.6 rebounds (15th), and 9.1 assists per game (2nd).

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And yet, the Pacers enter this series quietly confident. Indiana took three of four games from the Cavs during the regular season and has been defying expectations all season long.

"We've been doubted before," Pacers point guard Darren Collison said. "We've been doubted all season long as individuals, so it's nothing new for us."

Beyond James' brilliance, this Cleveland team has visible flaws, particularly on the defensive end, where they finished the season second-to-last (ahead of only a tanking Suns team) in defensive rating. The Cavs have had so many issues that they completely overhauled their rotation at the trade deadline, sending away six players and bringing in four new faces.

"At the end of the day, we've just got to go out there and play at a high level," Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo said. "It's not going to be easy, but it ain't been easy all year for us.

"We've got to go out there with that mentality and try to win it. That's what we're trying to do. We're trying to go make it close and have fun, we're trying to win."

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Hornets: PG - George Hill, SG - Rodney Hood, SF - LeBron James, PF - Jeff Green, C - Kevin Love

Injury Report

Pacers: None

Cavaliers: TBA

Last Meeting

January 26, 2018: The Cavaliers avoided being swept by the Pacers in the regular season with a 115-108 win in Cleveland. The Cavs never trailed and took a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Pacers mounted an admirable charge, cutting their deficit to five points with 1:44 remaining, only to go scoreless the rest of the way.

Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 25 points, six rebounds, and seven assists in the loss. Darren Collison added 19 points and seven assists, while Domantas Sabonis collected a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

LeBron James recorded a triple-double for the Cavs, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists (but also 11 turnovers). J.R. Smith added 23 points, going 7-for-13 from 3-point range.

Noteworthy

  • Including last season's playoff series, the Pacers have lost 10 of their last 11 games in Cleveland. The lone win in that stretch came earlier this season, a 124-107 win on Nov. 1.
  • After helping lead the Pacers to four playoff appearances from 2011-16, George Hill will face his former team for the first time in the postseason. Hill's former teammates on the current Pacers roster include Darren Collison, Lance Stephenson, Myles Turner, Glenn Robinson III, and Joe Young.
  • Though this Pacers team is relatively young and features many new faces, most of the roster does have playoff experience. 12 of the 13 non-rookies on Indiana's roster have played in the postseason before (the lone exception, Alex Poythress, played just six career games prior to this year).

Tickets

The Pacers return home to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host the Cavaliers in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series on Friday, April 20 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: ABC - Mike Breen (play-by-play), Jeff Van Gundy (analyst), Mark Jackson (analyst), Lisa Salters (sideline reporter)
FOX Sports Indiana - "Pacers Live" Postgame Show (following conclusion of the game) featuring Jeremiah Johnson and Eddie Gill reporting from Cleveland and Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner in studio in Indianapolis
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.