Highlights courtesy of MLG Highlighs
1. After getting straight up punched in the mouth by the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 LeBron James regained control as the clear aggressor as his 20 first quarter points (scoring the first 13 points in the game) vaulted the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 33-18 lead by the end of the first frame which proved juuuuust enough to give them an edge to even the series up at one a piece. James finished with 46 points on a blistering 17 of 24 shooting, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. Literally from the opening tip the King held court (get it?) and even as the game eventually got closer (more on that in a bit) James was always the deciding factor.
2. And then there was everyone else. To be fair before leaving with a little under four minutes left in the game Kevin Love was doing……okay I guess. He had 15 and 8 at the time (sure that 15 came on 16 shots) but as long as he was out there it was something else the Indy defense had to account for. The Cavs made a very curious move in starting Kyle Korver at the 2 and shifting JR “Pipe” Smith to the 3 spot. While the returns were less than impressive from Smith aside from some pretty tough stops on the defensive end Korver really got it going putting up 12 points on 4 of 8 all from deep.
After that there wasn’t really much to write home about. James, Love and Korver was there only double figure scorers as no one else could really get in a groove. Surely much of this had to do with James more or less taking over the game but unless the Cavs expect 40+ games from James for the rest of the postseason (and believe me he can do that ish) they need to find a way to insert themselves in these games especially down the stretch. George Hill as a starting point guard must find a way to stay on the court more than 20 minutes, Pipe needs to get more than 5 shot attempts up in 35 minutes of play and the morass of Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance, Jr. and Jeff Green quite frankly needs to find some damned consistency. Don’t be fooled although Cleveland won this one they have a LOT to be concerned with as they head to Nap Town for two.
3. They almost had em’. The first quarter speaks more to James’ greatness than Indy’s wide eyed ineptitude and factor in that Victor Oladipo picked up two fouls in the first 45 seconds of action and it was clear that the Pacers would be playing this one with a hand behind their backs. However, they fought back and really made a game of it damn near stealing both games at the Q.
Despite the early foul trouble Oladipo still led paced the Pacers (yeah, I know that was bad) with 22 points and 6 assists in only 28 minutes. Darren Collison had an impressive outing going for 16-5-6 on 7 of 11 shooting. Myles Turner notched 18 and 5 while Thad Young and Bojan Bogdanovic had 8 a piece with Young turning in a good defensive performance as well. Lance “Make Em’ Dance” Stephenson added 10-4-3 and Cory “CoJo” Joseph was solid running the 2nd unit.
If there was a glaring weakness for Indy it was undoubtedly Domantas Sabonis. He was missing bunnies at the rim and was lost on the defensive end for most of the contest. Once they settled down this got serious real quick and it was ALMOST enough. But a loss is a loss and one has to wonder if this was just the kick in the pants needed to motivate what many think is a sleeping giant in the Cleveland Cavaliers.