Running thoughts: R1G2 – Cavaliers 100, Pacers 97

Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Quicken Loans Arena

Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 100-97 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

It was game 2 of their best-of-seven first-round series. The series is tied, 1-1.

  • We knew there would be changes from the Cavaliers, including their starting lineup. Coach Ty Lue opted to start veterans JR Smith and Kyle Korver over Rodney Hood and Jeff Green.
  • As expected, LeBron came out determined and got himself involved. It took him 13 seconds to score. Than another 17 seconds to score again. He scored all 13 Cavalier points before the Pacers finally got on the board at the 7:43 mark … with a pair of foul shots from birthday boy (29) Bojan Bogdanovic.
  • LeBron’s start is exactly why most NBA observers avoid picking against him. He’s that good.
  • The Pacers’ start got worse when Oladipo was whistled for his second foul just one minute in. He immediately came out, leading to early minutes for Lance. May see Glenn Robinson III tonight, too. McMillan only played nine guys in Game 1.
  • In all, it was a 16-1 start by LeBron over the Pacers, who turned it over four times and missed four in a row before Myles Turner made a layup.
  • LeBron dominated the first 12 minutes, scoring 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting. The Cavs, up 33-18, shot a scorching-hot 67 percent and made five threes. And Oladipo spent all but 62 seconds on the bench with two fouls.
  • Pacers used an 15-3 run, sparked by Oladipo, who scored or assisted for 11 of those points, helped them draw to within six. But then he was called for his third foul with 4:47 left in the half. And it was a bad call. Kevin Love jumped into him. [Watch it here]
  • A few minutes later, Love appeared to twist his right knee on a 3-point attempt as he was blocked out by Thad Young.
  • Pacers were outscored by six (17-11) over the final 4:47 without Oladipo. It was 58-46 Cavs at half, with LeBron contributing 29 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in 20 minutes.
  • George Hill picked up two quick fouls in the third quarter, giving him five for the game four minutes into the half. The Pacers then scored 13 of the next 15 points to get to within five, 70-65.
  • Domantas Sabonis was given a Flagrant-1 against LeBron. That’s playoff basketball. He went for the ball, then tried to brace LeBron for the fall.
  • LeBron has been dominant. So good. His 20th playoff game with 40 or more points.
  • For those who care about this sort of thing: LeBron was called for his first foul with 3:54 left in the game.
  • With 3:43, Love (15 and 8) went to the bench with an apparent left thumb injury. It’s the same hand he fractured earlier this season, missing 21 games. He did not return.
  • Marv Albert referenced Game 3 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Oops. It became Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2011.
  • Oladipo had an outstanding, surprisingly wide-open 3-pointer from the right arc to tie. But missed. They just don’t have the long ball tonight. (95-92 was the score.)
  • Pacers had their chances but lost. LeBron was magnificent with 46-12-5. Oladipo led the Pacers with 22 points, three rebounds, and six assists. Collison added 16 points and six assists.
  • Up next: The series shifts to Indianapolis, with Game 3 set for Friday at 7:00 pm (FSI, ESPN).

This was really well done by TNT.

[Photo: @Cavs]

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