Pacers get the jump on Cavaliers — Sunday's National Basketball Association roundup

PodcastMike Zavagno on the Cavs and the NBA playoffs – The Nail in the Coffin Episode 115

The resounding message from Pacers practice at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday afternoon was one of guarded optimism.

IN won the opening game of the series 98-80 on Sunday afternoon. The Pacers were the hungrier team. The team just was not clicking and did not have a single player with a positive plus minus.

He scored 36 points to help Oklahoma City defeat Utah 116-108 in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series Sunday night.

"We were pleased with a lot of the looks we were getting, we just can't shoot as tight", Hood said. "There's some things that we can improve on that I was looking at in the film".

"The defense was okay, but offensively, we didn't make shots and we didn't take shots", Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said after the game. "We can be better".

The NBA playoffs rarely get upsets in the first round, but the Pacers downing the three-time defending East champions would certainly raise some eyebrows.

IN coach Nate McMillan acknowledged that he kept Stephenson on somewhat of a short leash. "He's a very coachable kid", McMillan said. "I think next game we'll be relaxed, we'll come out and we'll play a lot better".

IN (48-34) has the best record of any of his first-round opponents, and the Cavs got such a tough matchup only because they went an underwhelming 50-32 and got the No. 4 seed - LeBron's lowest seed in a decade.

The Pacers got a huge contribution from the struggling Myles Turner.

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This season has not exactly been easygoing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Oladipo was the once again the catalyst in his first true playoff game as the lead dog. That trend is unlikely to continue throughout the series, as the Cavaliers posted a.372 3-point percentage during the regular season, the sixth-best mark in the National Basketball Association. We've just got to shoot the ball.

"If we bring that this whole series, we'll be excellent". These are some of the fixes that could benefit the Cavaliers moving forward in the series.

Tied at 96-all with 10.3 seconds left, the Celtics drained time before going to Terry Rozier for a step back three with a second left in the game.

This only works for Cleveland if they can score. "And they're going to hit the open man".

"They came in and they attacked us and they were aggressive". However, this game was mainly lost because the Cavs underestimated the Pacers. We know what LeBron is capable of doing.

"I think the biggest thing was we didn't waver as a team", added Thaddeus Young.

No doubt, the goal will be the same for game two, scheduled for Wednesday night at 7:00 Cleveland.

Furthermore, according to, LeBron has never lost a Game 1 in the first round. "But a team like this can respond and they're going to respond". We gotta hit some free throws as well.

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Lance Stephenson is here for the LeBron matchup.

The Pacers' mercurial guard has faced off against the four-time MVP many times over the years (including five of the last seven postseasons).

An early exit from the playoffs bodes well for the Lakers' pitch to James. Born Ready just loves playing against LeBron James. The play occurred with 8:59 left, and Booker was called for an offensive foul. "He's a tough player and you've got to play your best when you play against him".

"I think the intensity", James said when asked where the Cavs tripped. "Don't back down from nobody". Oladipo was superb, scoring 32 points on 11-of-19 shooting and adding four steals.

"The energy last night was wonderful", Stephenson said.

Lakers fans should be following the Cavaliers closely in the playoffs.

Stephenson was his typical amusing self after the dunk. "So I'm the last guy to ask about what I'm gonna be like the next couple days". He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with James, before rising up right in Jeff Green's face.

Kevin Love was one point (9) away from a double-double, but with his 17 rebounds he passed Anderson Varejao (405) for the most rebounds in Cavaliers postseason history.

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