Well, well, well. If this was the Cavs’ version of flipping the switch, perhaps the doubts about how good this team actually is are fair and warranted. The team projected a lot of confidence coming into Saturday’s Game 1 matchup with the Indiana Pacers, but needed C.J. Miles to miss an open midrange shot at the end of the game that would have meant a shocking win for the 8th seed. The Cavs did win, though, and maintain home court advantage. They’ll need to win again on Monday night, and it’s likely that the Pacers will bring increased confidence of their own.
Your Cleveland Cavaliers 109, the Indiana Pacers, 108.
Consider that it isn’t all that bad. Consider that the Cavaliers, normally a 75% free throw shooting team, were 14/27 on Saturday afternoon. Add six makes to their total, and their still shooting below their averages, and their victory looks a tad more comfortable. Kyrie Irving was 1/9 from three point range. If he gets just two more of his open looks to go, the Cavs add another six points to their total. It doesn’t quite work this way, but the Cavs got shots that they are normally more efficient with. If they do it again later in the series, it’s possible they will get more positive outcomes.
Ultimately, the Cavs were able to win with good offense and LeBron James. They made just enough defensive plays. James had 32 points on 20 shots, and handed out 13 assists. He and Irving missed bunnies late in the game that let the Pacers crawl back and have an opportunity to win. The negative voices will be loud, but I think there were positives. The team will need more from Kevin Love, who was absent after a strong first quarter.
We will have a ton of coverage of the game tonight and tomorrow, and get you ready for Game 2. See you in the comments.