The revenge behind the Game 1 destruction of the Cavaliers

17 April, 2018, 19:01 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Mike Wells previews the Pacers Cavaliers series

But the Pacers appeared focused and ready in Game 1. Everyone in the team's regular rotation has played in the playoffs before.

But as the Indiana Pacers strolled quietly into practice on Monday at Quicken Loans Arena, a building they silenced less than 24 hours earlier with an eye-catching playoff win in Game 1 over the Cavaliers, there was something unmistakable about them.

"We had a lot of guys with egos that we really couldn't push aside" he said. "There's some things that we can improve on that I was looking at in the film. I was assisting and guys just couldn't make shots to start the game, so it was just how the game was going on". "We can be better".

Head to head, the Pacers are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings in Cleveland and 14-5-1 ATS in the last 20 meetings overall.

IN coach Nate McMillan acknowledged that he kept Stephenson on somewhat of a short leash.

"We've got to be better", Collison said. We've got to do a better job of getting it to him because they're playing a hard three-quarters.

For Game 2 this coming Wednesday, the Cavs head coach wants the four-time MVP victor to start more aggressive and set the tone for the game. Having them hitting shots that they normally make would help negate much of the improvements that Cleveland could make. Jeff Green, whose career scoring average of 11 points per game in the playoffs coming into Sunday was already underperforming compared to his career regular-season scoring average of 13.2 points, scored zero points on 0-for-7 shooting.

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Regardless, the Pacers are going to need to continue to embrace a "grit and grind" mentality where they are pressuring ball handlers and being physical to throw off Cleveland's offense. That's why we came to play this game is to win, not just to come here and just be OK. During the regular season, IN was just 3-11 when being held to 95 points or less. The Cavs got within seven in the fourth, but Oladipo, once a role player who has blossomed into an All-Star in his first season with in, hit a big 3-pointer and Bojan Bogdanovic helped put Cleveland away with a 3 to make it 88-71.

"We were pressuring the ball", Pacers guard Lance Stephenson said. We take each and every step together. They've been doing it all season.

"If we bring that this whole series, we'll be excellent".

Antetokounmpo got free for a dunk, But Horford was steady again after being fouled, connecting on two more from the line with 15.2 seconds left. IN came in 15-6 in the playoffs when it wins the opener. The Cavs just have to find a way to ease No. 23's load going forward, especially in the offensive end. "They're going to pressure us. Like I told you guys, you always ask me, 'Is there anything you can tell them [about the playoffs]?' Listen, experience is the best teacher, and they got it today", James said.

For McMillan, another strong start is of the utmost importance. "I expect the same thing in Wednesday's game. We'll see what they're going to do". This is a talented team. But we're certainly dealing with the same LeBron James. "They just played inspired basketball and they just took advantage of everything we wanted to try and do".

Two of the most significant performances of the opening weekend of the National Basketball Association playoffs came from two players who were traded for one another.

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