Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Victor Oladipo used slight from Cavs owner as motivation in Game 1

LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers 29032018 NBA play-offs: Cavaliers shocked by Pacers
Eugene Bates | 17 April, 2018, 20:25

They calmly walked off, business as usual.

"So today was definitely a good test for some of our younger guys, and like I said, I think they'll be a lot better, especially in game two". Game 1 is what they've been doing to teams all year. You always hear people say in the regular season, sometimes it's a 'playoff-type atmosphere.' Eh, you can't simulate that.

James ended up playing 44 minutes and posted his 20th playoff triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, but he shot just 7-for-17 from the field, went 0-for-4 on 3-pointers while not making a shot from the perimeter and was 10-for-14 at the line. "We can't let this game get to our heads and have to take the next time like it's the first game". "They were more physical than us at the point of attack, and they were most precise with what they wanted to do and we couldn't score the ball".

If LeBron's initial disinterest was born out of a desire to get his teammates involved in the offense before he takes charge, it backfired badly as the rest of the starters combined for only 25 points.

The Cavs' playoff theme is: "Whatever It Takes".

It was the first time the Cavaliers lost in the first-round since LeBron returned to the team and James' first first-round loss since 2012 when he was still with the Miami Heat. The 33-year-old is trying to get to his eighth straight Finals, and already the path is tougher than imagined.

Indiana's physicality influenced the poor shooting by Cleveland, who ranks fifth in shooting percentage. Those Pacers, though, didn't have Oladipo or the balance of this Indy squad, which may lack experience but not confidence.

The Indiana Pacers started the playoffs the same way as the regular season: With the mindset of proving the world wrong. "We believed in ourselves from day one, so regardless of what anybody says we're still going to go out there and play Pacers basketball". "They still don't believe".

Oladipo is a superstar and now everybody can see why on this "magnified" stage.

It's rare that a trade can benefit both sides, but the deal seems to have made both teams better. "When you don't, you saw what he's capable of".

A big reason why the Pacers had so much success was Victor Oladipo.

"You could say it fueled the fire", he said of Gilbert following the blowout victory over the Cavs. "Can't control his opinion". However, Stephenson is now back in IN after bouncing around the league for three seasons.

"That's just how the game was being played", James said. Lue expects Hill to be good for Wednesday. "I thought he made good decisions out there on the floor", IN coach Nate McMillan said of his star guard. Oh, and Oladipo ranked 13th (4.5) in Value Over Replacement Player, while George was 24th (3.3). "It's not like (5-3) Muggsy Bogues is pressuring". Totals 30-78 12-20 80. James needs to be more aggressive at the start of Game 2 in order to give Cleveland their best chance of succeed in this year's playoffs.

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