Indiana Pacers, Eastern Conference Round 1, Game 1 preview and listings

LeBron James left and Bojan Bogdanovic

Indiana Pacers, Eastern Conference Round 1, Game 1 preview and listings

IN came in 15-6 in the playoffs when it wins the opener. Now, the fun part starts as the Cavaliers tip off the postseason with Game 1 of their First Round matchup against IN on Sunday afternoon at The Q. The incomparable, 33-year old James has owned the conference for what seems like forever. Many people assumed the Pacers were entering a rebuilding stage, especially after they traded away Paul George.

Shooting guard Victor Oladipo has emerged as a legitimate star for the Pacers this year and the main piece that will be leading the team in the future.

Some pundits will point to the Pacers 3-1 record over the Cavaliers during the regular season as a reason to be skeptical. The interesting thing is that all four meetings came before Cleveland made three trades to overhaul part of its roster. The Indiana Pacers, who earned a win in three of the four regular-season matchups, will challenge the Cavs in the opening round beginning April 15.

And James praised the Pacers for the way they dominated the game from the very beginning.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James scored 24 points with 12 assists and 10 rebounds in Sunday's 98-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers. IN won the opening game of the series 98-80 on Sunday afternoon. Cleveland cut the lead to as little as seven points on three separate occasions in the second half, but in kept its distance and sealed the game with back-to-back buckets from Victor Oladipo, the second a 3-pointer for a 95-78 lead with 1:59 remaining. The Cavaliers pick up the home win to take an early lead in the series. 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. Brad Stevens will throw all sorts of looks at the young guys and while the absence of Irving and Gordon Hayward will hang over the team, these Celtics won't start looking ahead to next year without a fight.

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"As the Land Turns is what I call it", coach Tyronn Lue said, referring to the soap opera by a similar title. We still have no idea how good this team will be.

The Pacers shot 47.6 percent in the first half compared with 36.6 percent for the Cavaliers. Born Ready just loves playing against LeBron James.

The Cavaliers struggled shooting the ball as they hit only 38.5 percent from the field. The 14-time All-Star called Stephenson "a little dirty" after a scuffle in their January 12 game. Myles Turner put up 16 points with eight rebounds, Bojan Bogdanovic had 15 points plus six boards along with three steals and Lance Stephenson contributed 12 points.

Love missed 23 games to injury, but averaged 17.6 points and a team-best 9.3 rebounds. "He's the best player in the world". Irreconcilable differences created in the heated exchange that began January 22 when Thomas and Wade called out Love for missing a game and a practice because he was sick, with no further explanation.

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