All that has made Oladipo a leading contender for National Basketball Association most improved player honors, and it served as a fitting prelude to Sunday's performance, when he hit 11 of 19 shots, added six rebounds, four assists and four steals and helped snap James's personal 21-game winning streak in the first round.
IN was in control from the outset, opening a 21-point lead in the first quarter and leading by 23 in the third. While LeBron did his thing, posting his 20th postseason triple-double (24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds), no other Cavs starter scored in double figures.
Game 2 of this first-round series is at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Cleveland. "I've never lost a game in the first round before in my career?"
Love struggled for most of the first half, when the Cavs dug themselves the massive hole they were eventually buried in, not hitting his first shot - a 3-pointer - until 1:53 remained. "It's only Game 1". It was the first time in LeBron's career that he lost the first game of the playoffs. "I think the next game, we'll be more relaxed, and we'll come out, we'll play better".
Victor Oladipo had himself quite a game in Game 1 versus the Cavs. He finished 3-for-8 - 3-for-6 on 3-pointers and 0-for-1 on free throws - for nine points in over 34 minutes.
Cleveland had won 14 straight first-round games, last losing on April 22, 2010, the last season of James' first stint with the Cavs. "So, we take it as everybody has to dig deep and not lose two of them on our home floor", James said.
"We believe that we can win", Oladipo said.
The slights are nothing new to the Pacers, nor their star player, Victor Oladipo, who is still fueled by comments Cavs' owner, Dan Gilbert made several months ago. "He just has to run the floor more ... just play faster and play with more energy".
"We had some guys in their first time out there playing in this setting and they definitely".
That experience means the three-time champion isn't anxious about this latest hole that Cleveland is in. "We'll make some adjustments and be a lot better".
Stephenson, when asked about his contributions to the Pacers' emphatic 98-80 win, described his energy as "contagious". The Pacers easily could have won the game by a bigger margin had they cashed in at the charity stripe and capitalized more on Cleveland's miscues. That's what we're focused on: "taking it one game at a time, trying to win every game". I don't care what problems he is dealing with outside the court, you need to play him more in this series.
"We had some good looks that we wanted and that just didn't fall".
On Sunday, the hostile atmosphere at Quicken Loans Arena had a similar effect on Stephenson, who had a strong showing off the bench, scoring 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting and grabbing five rebounds in just 17:26. He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with James, before rising up right in Jeff Green's face.
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