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Cleveland Cavaliers Playoff Scribbles: LeBron James, Tyrone Lue, pesky Pacers - Terry Pluto

16 Avril 2018

The playoffs - especially the first round - could be a sorting out process for Lue.

IN jumped out to a huge lead to begin the game, and eventually pushed their lead as high as 23 points.

After three seasons in Orlando and past year in OKC, the former second overall pick in 2013-14 averaged season highs nearly entirely across the board and finished as the only player in the league who averaged more than 20.0 points, 5.0 boards, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

The Pacers showed that spark in the regular season, beating the Cavaliers in 3 out of their 4 match ups, but this is the postseason.

"It definitely could", Love told ESPN on Friday on whether Cleveland's playoffs could be impacted by James" free agency or vice versa.

"LeBron is a freak of his own", said Oladipo, who has blossomed in his first year with Indiana.

Game 2 is Wednesday night. Smith added 15 points, while Nance had 10 points and five boards for Cleveland. The Pacers did force 16 Cleveland turnovers but after cashing in on them early to jump out to that big lead, they got a bit complacent. On the other end, five early points from Myles Turner and back-to-back three-point plays from Bojan Bogdanovic allowed IN to open up an 18-4 lead.

Pacers will snap LeBron James's streak of 21 straight first-round playoff wins.

Who are the Pacers going to leave open to help slow down James? "I've never lost a game in the first round before in my career?"

The Cavaliers, at least on paper, should have a clear advantage over the Pacers.

Best Online Sportsbook Picks: The money line is favoring the Cavs too heavily to make them a decent option straight up.

Trailing 69-50 in the third quarter, Cleveland used a 13-1 run, capped by Love's deep 3-pointer, to trim the deficit to 70-63.

The Raptors and Wizards split the season series 2-2, typical of a season where Washington played best against quality competition. Therefore, if the Cavaliers are able to control the tempo, they will control the series.

This past year, the former IN star ranked ninth IN the league IN scoring (23.1 ppg) and first IN steals (2.36 spg) - topping the 20-point plateau on 51 occasions, including 12 games with 30 or more. The only Portland win over New Orleans with Boogie came in the Blazers' home opener, when Anthony Davis played only five minutes before bumping knees with Maurice Harkless and leaving the game.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 2018 in New York City.

Against the Pacers, Love will start out battling athletic Myles Tuner (12.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg), then likely confront the ever-improving Domantas Sabonis (11.6, 7.7) off the bench. With no Irving to bail them out of late shot-clock situations, this will have to be more of a group effort around James. Lue might choose to limit Korver's playing time in the series opener so he can play him more as the series progresses. IN controlled the tempo from the start and hammered Cleveland into submission. But without him they're looking at a playoff run that will be a hard one from the very first game. The Cavs shot.275 from 3 against the Pacers (38-of-138). During one moment in particular, the Pacers guard crouched so laughingly low on defense - nearly mockingly - that James displayed a smirk in a clip that was made for the basketball Twittersphere.

For Cleveland, other than James, center Kevin Love will be looking to make a big impact.

Cleveland Cavaliers Playoff Scribbles: LeBron James, Tyrone Lue, pesky Pacers - Terry Pluto