Cleveland, Ohio – The Cleveland Cavaliers squeak out a game one victory over the Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. The Cavaliers entered the postseason a bit vulnerable to some after dropping six of their last ten. The defense remains a problem for the Cavaliers as they were late closing out to shooters letting the pacers score anywhere on the court. The Pacers weren’t much better defensively as the Cavaliers repeatedly used the pick and roll to exploit Jeff Teague in the lane as James and Love overpowered him to score easy buckets. Tristan Thompson was also a force down low gobbling up offensive boards to keep the Pacers at bay.
Paul George had the hot hand early in the game to the tune of 29 points but was quiet in the second half nevertheless; the Pacers took control in the 4th as Lance Stephensen provided an offensive spark handling backup point guard duties. Stephensen finishing the game with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He also neutralized the Cavaliers pick and roll schemes on the defensive end with his size compared to Teague.
After a late game three-point bucket by George and a couple of misfires by the Cavaliers, the Pacers found themselves down one with the ball for the last shot. George got the ball at the top of the key but was quickly double teamed by Smith and James as he passed out to Miles hoping to get the ball back. Miles hoisted up a desperation shot that missed off the left side of the rim. The Cavaliers escaped game 1 with the victory as James finished the evening with 32 points, 13 assists and 6 rebounds.
Game two is in Cleveland on Monday night April 17th on TNT.
Baseline Times NBA Staff Writer