CLEVELAND (TNS) — The 2018 NBA playoffs are here, and the Cavaliers continue to be a work in progress.
Missed shots and too many turnovers plagued the Cavs as the Indiana Pacers rolled to a 98-80 victory in the opening game of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavs trotted out 30 different starting lineups in the regular season and posted a 50-32 record, fourth best in the East. Coach Tyronn Lue put together another different five for the opening tip Saturday, and the 31st different starting lineup looked out of sync on offense and defense before a sellout crowd of 20,562.
Lue called on five reserves, but their impact was minimal as the Pacers built and maintained a double-digit lead for a majority of the game.
Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 32 points, six rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes. Myles Turner (16 points), Bojan Bogdanovic (15) and Lance Stephenson (12) also scored in double figures for the Pacers.
LeBron James paced the Cavs with his 20th career playoff triple-double with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes. Sunday's loss was James' first in a Game 1 of a first-round playoff series and snapped his personal streak of 21 consecutive first-round victories.
J.R. Smith scored 15 points, Larry Nance Jr. had 10 points and five rebounds in his NBA playoff game, and Kevin Love totaled nine points and 17 rebounds.
The Cavs trimmed a 61-38 Pacers lead with 10:28 remaining in the third quarter to 73-65 with 12 minutes left, but Oladipo and friends showed grit to get the win.
The Pacers built a 33-14 lead after one quarter and a 55-38 advantage at halftime.
The Pacers made 12-of-23 shots from the field, including 4-of-9 attempts from 3-point range, and 5-of-9 free throws in the first quarter. On the opposite side, the Cavs were a mess, committing six turnovers, and making 5-of-20 shots from the field, including 0-of-8 from deep, and 4-of-4 free throws.
The Cavs trailed 10-4 with 6:13 to go in the first quarter after making just 2-of-11 field goals and were 0-of-6 from 3-point range. Turner scored five points in the opening six minutes for the Pacers, who started 4-of-10 from the field and 1-of-3 from deep.
The Pacers increased their lead to 18-4 with 4:33 left in the first quarter on a layup by Darren Collison and consecutive 3-point plays by Bogdanovic. The Cavs had more turnovers (six) than points (four) at that juncture of the game.
Nance converted a layup to make it 18-6 at 4:11 and end the Pacers' 14-0 run. Indiana then compiled a 15-8 spurt to end the quarter.
Oladipo and Turner entered the second quarter with 11 points and seven points, respectively, and went into halftime with 16 points and 12 points, respectively.
James, who led the Cavs in the regular season with 27.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game, tried to play the role of facilitator in the opening quarter, but struggled his way to two points, four assists and three rebounds. He made two free throws with 1:52 to go in the first quarter and attempted his first shot from the field at 1:24.
James got more involved in the second and third quarters as the Cavs closed the deficit to eight points heading into the fourth quarter. Smith made three 3s in the third quarter, Love made two 3s and Nance put in an acrobatic layup to the delight of the crowd.