Oladipo drops 32 as Pacers beat Cavs in series opener


This is a major step up after the team was projected to not even make the playoffs at the start of the year. They can still regain control of this series if they can find a way to slow Oladipo who looks like a full-blown superstar in the making.

The Indiana Pacers look to make an early statement in this series after being one of the bigger surprises in the season already.

Although the Cavs have had more makeovers this year than any leading lady in Hollywood, the Pacers took three of four during the regular season. The Cavs trailed IN 14-33 to end the quarter. But LeBron James is ready for the challenge. That was a big change for them: remember, last season in Game 3 of their series with Cleveland, they blew a 26 point lead and lost by five.

The Indiana Pacers pulled off the impossible Sunday.

Sunday afternoon's Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game gets started at 3:30 PM. It's not surprising, since they have what many consider to the best player on the planet.

Oladipo received help from his supporting cast, as Myles Turner (12 points), Bojan Bogdonavic (10 points) and Lance Stephenson (nine points) helped the team to a 55-38 halftime lead. IN was on roll through April 1, but did lose three of its final five games heading into the postseason. This year, Kyrie Irving will not be running the point.

Victor Oladipo was a huge thorn in the Cavs' side, scoring 32 points. The 10-man rotation means Clarkson, Calderon, and Green will all get minutes and it seems as though Cedi Osman and Tristan Thompson will be left out.

As for Cleveland's reserves, Jordan Clarkson, J.R. Smith and Jose Calderon are in the rotational mix, with forwards Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. being used depending on whom in has on the floor. In each of his previous eight trips to the finals, his team has been either a 1 or a 2 seed, but this year, the Cavs are a 4 after an inconsistent season that saw them rearrange the roster in very significant ways at the trade deadline.

- LBJ's last first-round loss: 5/9/2012, Knicks beat Heat in Game 4. The Cleveland Cavaliers are shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc and 77.9 percent from the free throw line. Oladipo has thrived in Indiana's offense and has set career highs in points, assists and rebounds this past season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have their eye on the championship prize, but star forward Kevin Love recognizes that the reward for winning the 2018 NBA Finals could be two-fold.

Cleveland finished two games ahead of IN in the standings. IN will try to force switches and get Love, JR Smith, Calderon, or Clarkson on him, and that will be the biggest test for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland's only other double-figure scorers came off the bench: J.R. Smith with 15 points and Larry Nance Jr. with 10. If ever there was a season Cleveland was ripe for the taking, it is this one. But with lineups changing on an nearly game-by-game basis over the final weeks of the season, it's been a moving target. "It's only one game, it's only Game 1".