5QT: Slow-starting, cold-shooting Cavs clobbered in opener

LeBron James (23), Jordan Clarkson (8), Jeff Green (32), Larry Nance Jr. and J.R. Smith (5) and the rest of the Cavaliers came up short in Game 1 against Indiana on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Five quick takes from the Indiana Pacers’ 98-80 Game 1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena…

1. LeBron James came into the game with the same mindset he’s used pretty much for his entire 13-season career — to get his teammates involved and then take over if and when needed.

2. Problem is, his teammates weren’t ready to answer the bell, shooting just 2-of-11 to start the game and turning the basketball over six times. James kept passing the ball to open teammates, but they kept missing as the Cavs fell deeper and deeper into a hole and trailed after one quarter, 33-14. Kevin Love and Kyle Korver shot a combined 0-6 during that stretch. For the game, Cleveland shot just 8-of-34 (23.5 percent) from deep.

3. James finished with a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, shooting 7-of-17 from the field and 10-of-14 from the free-throw line in 44 minutes. He averaged 19.3 field-goal attempts during the regular season. To take two less shots than his average during the regular season in a playoff game just won’t work.

4. LeBron’s first point didn’t come until 1:52 remained in the first quarter, when he made a pair of free throws. By that time, Cleveland was already down 15 points and never was able to get back to even break-even. Most telling — James did not attack the basket a single time in the first quarter. As in none. Zero.

5. With Kyrie Irving not available (in Cleveland, or Boston, for that matter, because of knee surgery), these Cavaliers, with rotation guys Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. playing their first playoff game of their career, needed James to be in attack mode from the jump, which he was not. Him taking 17 shots and Love (17 rebounds) attempting only eight just won’t work against any team, especially against one as tough defensively as the Pacers.

7 Comments on "5QT: Slow-starting, cold-shooting Cavs clobbered in opener"

  1. Start Cedi and Nance… bench Hood and Green

  2. Replace green and korver with nance and hood and start a low post assault to create a bonus situation. Hill,hood,james,love,nance. Use nance and love in the low post with james distributing to get high percentage shots. Bemch, clarkson,smith,korver(osman),green,thompson. More active defense,deflections and a low post presence with pin downs, post ups, put backs, and high percentage shots. A winning combination.

  3. Leave Thompson out of it. He’s all thumbs, can’t shoot, doesn’t rim protect, doesn’t spread the floor, Switches off the big too much, leaving Hill & Calderone to try to cover a big, He doesn’t hustle any more…. Just stands around & looks just like Lue looks during the game.–Deer in the headlights.

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