Pacers at Cavaliers (Game 1)

GAME 1 RECAP: Pacers 98, Cavaliers 80

Victor Oladipo scores 32 points as the Pacers defeat the Cavaliers in Game 1, 98-80.

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GAME 1 RECAP: Pacers 98, Cavaliers 80

Victor Oladipo scores 32 points as the Pacers defeat the Cavaliers in Game 1, 98-80.
Apr 15, 2018  |  00:02

Postgame: Victor Oladipo Press Conference - April 15, 2018

April 15, 2018 - Victor Oladipo discusses the Pacers' impressive Game 1 victory in Cleveland.
Apr 15, 2018  |  02:13

Sabonis Skies for the Finish

April 15, 2018: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Highlights
Apr 15, 2018  |  02:13

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Apr. 15, 2018

April 15, 2018 - After their Game 1 win, Thad Young, Lance Stephenson, Darren Collison and Myles Turner discussed the victory.
Apr 15, 2018  |  02:33

Postgame: Coach McMillan Press Conference - April 15, 2018

April 15, 2018 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan discusses the Pacers' Game 1 victory in Cleveland.
Apr 15, 2018  |  09:40

Myles Closes the Half from Range

April 15, 2018: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Highlights
Apr 15, 2018  |  01:56

Postgame: LeBron James Press Conference - April 15, 2018

April 15, 2018 - LeBron James discusses the Cavaliers' Game 1 loss in Cleveland.
Apr 15, 2018  |  08:52

Postgame: Tryonn Lue Press Conference - April 15, 2018

April 15, 2018 - Cavaliers' head coach Tyronn Lue discusses his team's Game 1 loss in Cleveland.
Apr 15, 2018  |  08:34

Oladipo D and Three

April 15, 2018: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Highlights
Apr 15, 2018  |  01:40

Lance Rises and Shines!

April 15, 2018: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Highlights
Apr 15, 2018  |  01:15

Bojan Iso And-One

April 15, 2018: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Highlights
Apr 15, 2018  |  00:54

Bojan Steals and Earns And-One

April 15, 2018: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Highlights
Apr 15, 2018  |  00:36

Vic Gets on the Board with Three

April 15, 2018: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Highlights
Apr 15, 2018  |  00:17

Game Rewind: Pacers 98, Cavaliers 80 (Game 1)

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

Game Recap

For years, the first round of the NBA playoffs has belonged to LeBron James. Entering Sunday, the four-time MVP's teams in Miami and Cleveland had won 21 straight games in the first round, including the Cavaliers' 4-0 sweep of the Pacers in last year's postseason.

But this is a new year and, as they've been proving all year, this Pacers team is different.

Indiana went into Cleveland on Sunday afternoon and took it to the Cavs, leading by as many as 23 points and withstanding a second-half rally to hand James his first loss in the first round since 2012, a 98-80 defeat.

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"We're fully aware of LeBron," All-Star guard Victor Oladipo said. "We're fully aware of his team. And we realize it's not going to be easy, but we're not going to come in here and just fold. We're planning on winning, that's why we came to this series, that's why we came to play this game."

Oladipo led all scorers with 32 points, going 6-for-9 from 3-point range, to go along with six rebounds, four assists, and four steals in his first postseason game in a Pacers uniform.

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The Pacers were locked in defensively to start Game 1, holding the Cavaliers to 2-of-12 shooting and forcing five turnovers in the opening 7:30. On the other end, five early points from Myles Turner and back-to-back three-point plays from Bojan Bogdanovic allowed Indiana to open up an 18-4 lead.

"Letting our defense fuel our offense," Pacers forward Thaddeus Young said about the strong start. "I think we did a really good job of getting stops and making them take contested shots. Just staying home on guys, gathering the rebound, and getting off to the races."

The Blue & Gold kept their foot on the gas from there, continuing to extend the lead. In the final minute of the first quarter, Lance Stephenson caught the ball at the top of the key, drove down the lane, and threw down a vicious right-handed dunk over Jeff Green.

Stephenson headbutted the stanchion in celebration, sending the Pacers bench into hysterics as the Blue & Gold pushed their lead to 30-10.

"I was so hyped, I didn't even know I did it," Stephenson joked after the win.

The visitors led 33-14 at the end of the opening frame.

Cleveland came out with a sense of urgency to start the second quarter, getting out in transition and scoring the first seven points of the period. The Cavs eventually climbed within 10 points after two straight driving baskets by James.

But the Pacers kept them at arm's length, with Cory Joseph and Oladipo taking turns knocking down jumpers and then Turner burying an open three just before the halftime buzzer to push the lead back to 55-38.

MONTIETH: The Pacers Know What They've Done: Won One »

The Blue & Gold started the second half strong, scoring the first six points of the third quarter to open up their largest lead of the afternoon.

The Cavaliers, however, made a charge in the latter half of the frame. That surge started with two J.R. Smith 3-pointers, triggering what wound up being a 13-1 run to make it a 70-63 game with 1:06 remaining in the quarter.

Darren Collison provided a much-needed basket for Indiana on the other end, knocking down a corner three with 49.8 seconds left — the Pacers' only field goal over the final eight minutes of the third quarter — and the visitors took a 73-65 lead into the fourth.

Cleveland climbed back within seven following James' layup with 10:29 to play, forcing a timeout from Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. He put Oladipo back in the game and the Pacers' All-Star guard knocked down a 3-pointer and a 20-foot jumper during a 12-2 Pacers run.

The Cavaliers made one last push, with a 7-2 run to make it 90-78 with 4:44 to play before going cold down the stretch.

Oladipo's deep three with 1:59 remaining provided the exclamation point on an impressive playoff debut for this upstart Pacers squad.

"We did a really good job of staying poised throughout the course of the game," Young said. "We knew they were going to make a run...We didn't waver. We continued to stay the course and believed."

Three Pacers players joined Oladipo in double figures on Sunday. Turner had a strong night, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and eight rebounds. Bogdanovic added 15 points, while Stephenson chipped in 12 points and five boards off the bench.

James recorded his 20th career playoff triple-double in the loss with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. Smith added 15 points, while Larry Nance Jr. had 10 points and five boards for Cleveland.

The Pacers will have two days of practice before returning to Quicken Loans Arena for Game 2 on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM ET. Wednesday's contest will be broadcast nationally on TNT and locally on FOX Sports Indiana.

Despite snapping James' impressive first-round streak, the Pacers aren't overly confident and to a man acknowledged that there is a lot of basketball still to be played in this best-of-seven series.

"It's just one game," Turner said. "It was a great game at that. We'll take it in tonight, but come Wednesday, we'll be ready to go."

Inside the Numbers

Oladipo's 32 points more than doubled his previous playoff career high. Prior to Sunday, his five playoff games with Oklahoma City last year was his only exposure to the postseason. His best game last year was when he scored 15 in a Game 4 loss to the Rockets.

The Pacers held the Cavaliers to 80 points on Sunday, less than any opponent scored against Indiana in the regular season. The previous season low by a Pacers opponent was 81 by Golden State on March 27 in a game that the Warriors played without any of their four All-Stars.

The Pacers shot 45.6 percent from the field and went 11-for-28 (39.3 percent from 3-point range), while Cleveland shot just 38.5 percent and went 8-for-34 (23.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

Starting forward Jeff Green struggled all night for Cleveland, going scoreless in 26:31, missing all seven of his shot attempts, including three from 3-point range.

Neither team was particularly effective from the free throw line, as both teams shot just 60 percent from the charity stripe. Indiana went 15-for-25, while the Cavs made 12-of-20 shots from the foul line.

You Can Quote Me On That

"We've been playing hard on both ends all year. It hasn't been magnified. It's the playoffs now and we've been doing this all year and now everybody sees it." -Oladipo

"We're very excited. Everybody underestimated us. They don't believe in us. We're just going to prove everybody wrong and play together." -Stephenson

"I thought our guys did a good job of not giving up anything easy. We did a good job of executing our offense and didn't allow them to get into transition, which allows the crowd to get into the game." -McMillan on the Pacers' fast start

"No surprise at all. We all know what Vic can do and we know what type of player he is. He's a very dynamic player and when he steps out on the court, you're either going to have to double him or you're going to have to stop him." -Young on Oladipo's performance

"At the end of the day, they came in and dictated the tempo, they were more aggressive. They just played inspired basketball and took advantage of everything that we wanted to do...We couldn't score the ball." -James

"We just had a number of (shots) go in and out. We look up and towards the end of the game, our percentage is way down." -Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love on Cleveland's shooting woes

Stat of the Night

Prior to Sunday, James had not lost a first-round playoff game since May 6, 2012 when the Heat (already up 3-0) fell in Game 4 to the Knicks, 89-87.

Noteworthy

  • Prior to Sunday, the Pacers had lost 10 of their last 11 games in Cleveland, including a pair of losses in last year's playoff series.
  • James is only the second player in NBA history to record 20 triple-doubles in the postseason. Magic Johnson holds the all-time record with 30.
  • Stephenson received a technical foul with 39 seconds remaining in the third quarter after a hard foul on James.

Up Next

The Pacers and Cavs return to action on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00 PM ET. Game 2 will be televised locally on FOX Sports Indiana as well as nationally on TNT.

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 »