Victor Oladipo scored 32 points as the Indiana Pacers outplayed the Cleveland Cavliers from the start while pulling off a stunning 98-80 victory in their National Basketball Association play-offs eastern conference series opener. Love didn't score in either quarter, and not coincidentally the Cavs were outscored 58-29 over those 24 minutes. Yes, bigger than rallying from down 3-1 to beat the Warriors. Oladipo was hot from behind the line making 6 of 9 attempts.
"That's not enough", Lue said Monday of his center's eight shots. He had small guys on him and he was floating out for a three. "He has to be more aggressive". During the regular season, IN was just 3-11 when being held to 95 points or less.
The Pacers dictated the pace and outplayed the Cavs by establishing an early dominance of the ball.
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. He explained though that he was just trying to take what the defense gave him. "We've seen that a lot of times before. He has to be aggressive when he gets it". The Cavaliers finished with 16 turnovers, three of which came from James, and shot a lackluster 38.5 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from three-point range.
"(James) has to be aggressive and set the tone early", Lue said. "We talked about that today. being aggressive early, setting the tone, especially for these new guys, bringing these guys along". If the Cavs allow him to get going again early, they could be in for another long day.
James had a triple-double of 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, but the Pacers held him to 7-of-17 shooting. Instead, Cleveland's secondary source of points came from J.R. Smith's 15 off the bench.
But despite their insistence that it was just another game, it's worth pausing on what IN was able to accomplish with its wire-to-wire victory over Cleveland.
Lue said James "felt good" after the heavy workload and is ready to attack more when the two teams take the floor next.
"They underestimate us", Lance Stephenson said, referring to everyone, not just those Cleveland fans taunting the Pacers on Sunday.
The Cavs fell behind 33-12 during a unusual first quarter that included Cleveland missing all eight 3-pointers, James not attempting his first field goal until 1:52 remained and fans in Quicken Loans Arena wondering what they were seeing.
The win marked the first time a LeBron James team has ever dropped Game 1 of a first-round series and snapped a streak of 21 consecutive first-round victories for James. Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 32 points, six rebounds and four assists.
"I thought our guys did a good job of not giving up anything easy", said Nate McMillan after the game. "That's where they thrive". "It's only one game, it's only Game 1".
Lue said he is thinking about juggling the lineup, but won't say what he has planned. "Hopefully in Game 2 I won't play on my heels and I'll play more on my toes and be able to defend without fouling".