After Game 1 Loss to Pacers, Should Cavaliers be Worried?

By Michael Vesci
Apr. 16, 2018

Yesterday, the Indiana Pacers took care of the Cleveland Cavaliers easily by a final score of 98-80. After the game, LeBron James said, "I've always stayed even-keeled with the postseason, I mean, I'm down 0-1 in the first round. 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."

James recorded a triple-double in the game with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. However, he got off to a slow start and did not take his first shot until 1:52 remianed in the first quarter. He had just 2 points in the first quarter, coming off his free throws, and the Cavs found themselves trailing 33-14.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY SportsDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports

A big reason why the Pacers had so much success was Victor Oladipo. Oladipo, who came over in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Paul George deal finished with 32 points in Game 1. The Cavaliers simply had no answer for him in this game after a hot start where he scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers in the first.

Ultimately, this performance by the Cavs makes some question whether or not they should be worried about the series.

At the end of the day, the Cavaliers still have LeBron James on their team and he is having one of his best seasons yet. It is crucial that he gets going early in the game to give the Cavaliers momentum at home. Players like J.R. Smith and Larry Nance Jr. will have to get their shot going as well to help on the offensive side of the ball.

But they will also have to fix things on the defensive end. Cleveland was ranked 26th in points given up during the regular season giving up an average of 109.9 per game which simply will not cut it. While they improved on defense as the game went on, I believe they will need to hold Indiana under 95 points in the games ahead. During the regular season, Indiana was just 3-11 when being held to 95 points or less.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY SportsDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The other key on defense for them would be to stop Victor Oladipo. If the Cavs allow him to get going again early, they could be in for another long day. Holding him under 20 points would be ideal, but is highly unlikely considering the level he is playing at this season. Even if they did, they need to be ready to defend a guy like Myles Turner who can hit shots for the Pacers.

So in my opinion is there any cause for concern? No.

I believe the Cavaliers possess a streaky offense, one that can go off at any time in a game led by LeBron James. It will be up to him to get the offense going early, be a leader on the defensive side to frustrate the Pacers to set the tone, and help the Cavaliers grab momentum of the game and series.

Prediction: Cavaliers in 6.

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