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

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

When the Indiana Pacers received Victor Oladipo and Damantas Sabonis from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said that the Pacers "could've done better than it did". However, the Game 1 loss snapped LeBron's 21-game win streak in the first round of the playoffs.

But you wouldn't have known it from the Pacers' demeanor as they fielded questions from the media on Monday.

The Pacers took the fight to the Cavs.

James said falling behind in a series just motivates him to step up his game.

Take, for instance, what 30-year-old point guard Darren Collison had to say at Monday's practice.

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

"We've been down a lot, a lot of injuries, and we've always found a way", Horford said.

"We believe that we can win", Oladipo said. "We can be better".

The Pacers are feeling confident after beating the Cavs for the fourth time this season. The Pacers were the hungrier team. We came in to this game with a mentality that we were going to attack on both ends of the floor.

The Cavaliers vs Pacers game 2 schedule is set for Wednesday, April 18, at Quicken Loans Arena.

Yesterday's result only makes it more hard on the Cavaliers. The scoring part is crucial for Cleveland because their defense has been abysmal all season long and we're way past the point where we can expect their mid-season personnel changes to have any serious effect at that end. The Pacers (45-37) had a better expected record based on point difference - typically a better indicator of postseason success than actual record - than Cleveland (43-39). The Pacers forced 16 Cavs turnovers, and held Cleveland to just 38.5 shooting from the field.

Still, it's hard to find any major faults in the Blue & Gold's defensive effort in Game 1, particularly to start the game. Cleveland chipped away thanks to a triple-double from LeBron. Just making them do stuff that they're normally not used to doing. That's why we came to this series.

As Collison noted on Tuesday, a playoff series is akin to "a chess match", and the Cavaliers have the next move. "I think everybody is going to be a lot more calm and a lot more precise in what we want to do, too". They have to make shots for that to happen.

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"They were more aggressive", James said. "It's just a matter of us going out there and punching back".

"We got the first one out the way". So it's the playoffs now, we've been doing this all year.

But while he knows the narrative before Wednesday's game two will be on the struggles of Cleveland's play-off newcomers, James isn't anxious.

"I'm down 0-1 in the first round". We couldn't score the ball, and obviously in this league, you gotta score the ball. The miserable loss made history for LeBron James as well, not all happy history either.

An early exit from the playoffs bodes well for the Lakers' pitch to James.

The only advantage the Cavs had, really, was James. "I'm just focused on my team, focused on this series and taking it one game at a time".

"Listen, it's fun", James said of Stephenson. "Don't back down from nobody". "He's a competitor. He don't back down from nobody, and I definitely don't as well". Still, an engaged Stephenson is good for the Pacers. Nance was strong - 10 points, five rebounds, 5-of-7 shooting.

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

Lakers fans should be following the Cavaliers closely in the playoffs. He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with James, before rising up right in Jeff Green's face.

"I know how guys these days int he National Basketball Association are "starstruck" when they play against LeBron so sometimes they don't want to foul him, they just let him score".

"Me head-butting the (stanchion), you can't talk to nobody".

"Now, I'm sure our guys have heard that".

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