HOUSTON - James Harden scored 44 points and powered a big fourth-quarter run that allowed the Houston Rockets to outlast the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101 on Sunday night in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.
Counting the regular season, 80 points is the Cavs' second-lowest total this year.
But despite their insistence that it was just another game, it's worth pausing on what IN was able to accomplish with its wire-to-wire victory over Cleveland. At the time, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert chided IN as he declared that they got less for George than what Cleveland had offered.
The best player on the court for Pacers-Cavaliers remembered the shot Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert took.
IN took a substantial 30-10 lead in the first quarter, and even though Cleveland jabbed, hooked, uppercut, and threw haymakers into the deficit, the Pacers rarely wavered.
The 14-time All Star, seeking his fourth championship title, had also never before lost Game 1 of a first-round series.
The Pacer's showed the league that they aren't letting the challenge get to their heads. Lue wants more from those three players, but he also wants more from the Big Two - James and Love.
Meeting with reporters after the emphatic victory, Oladipo in a quiet, measured voice said he wasn't surprised at how the game unfolded.
"Listen, experience is the best teacher, and they got it today".
That experience means the three-time champion isn't anxious about this latest hole that Cleveland is in. However, the Cavaliers will have three days to rest and regroup before Game 2 and the only way is up for them after their poor showing on Sunday.
Houston center Clint Capela led the way early, finishing the game with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Turner's struggles continued as he went 1 of 8 from the field and finished with two points in 20 minutes. "Our goal right now is to get some shots up, figure out what we did wrong during film, and just bring it next game".
For his part, James pointed to Indiana's defensive strategy and focus on taking the ball out of his hands.
The Cavaliers had their lowest-scoring first period of the season and only five baskets with six turnovers in the opening quarter, drawing boos as they walked off at half-time trailing 59-38.
If you've been following the NBA based on national broadcasts this year, you'd probably think the Cavs were clearly better than the Pacers. While the Cavaliers will undoubtedly play better in Game 2, the fact remains that the Pacers have had their number this season.
It's that the Cavs should be scared of the Pacers. At that point, the Pacers were already down by 17 points - a deficit that proved to be too much to overcome. Hood finished with nine points while Hill had seven.
Cleveland began the second quarter on a 7-0 run, led by Kevin Love, who hit his second three-pointer of the evening during the quick run.
Only Larry Nance Jr.