Oladipo leads Pacers past Cavs in Game 1, 98-80

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  Victor Oladipo Pens Heartfelt Players Tribune Essay

NBAE Getty Images Victor Oladipo Pens Heartfelt Players Tribune Essay

IN came in 15-6 in the playoffs when it wins the opener.

The fourth-seeded Cavs were thought to have a switch, because James always does, but it didn't look like that during Game 1, as they were humiliated right from the start, as No. 5 IN took a 30-10 lead with about a minute left IN the first quarter. Only this year the odds seem different.

Following the win, Oladipo said he wasn't bothered by Gilbert's comment, but did admit that it "added fuel to the fire". If it happens in Game 1 against the Pacers, it would be a first.

Cavs minute: They lost three of four to the Pacers this season, but all the games were prior to February 8, when the Cavs traded six players. Listen, it's going to be a very good matchup. The Pacers stole homecourt with a dominant 98-80 win over Cleveland, with Stephenson and James having plenty of run-ins.

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While I am not surprised by James' ability to get triple doubles as his game has evolved, it was definitely surprising to learn that he has never played all 82 games before.

Trailing by those 17 points at intermission, the Cavaliers soon found themselves in even worse shape as they faced a 23-point deficit at 61-38 with 10:28 left in the third quarter. They beat the Cavs three times during the regular season and guard Victor Oladipo and Co. have enough talent to maybe upset the No. 4 seed. IN shot.462 from 3-point range against Cleveland (54-of-117).

Like most Heat games this season, all four matchups with the Sixers were close, with both teams winning a pair by nine points or fewer.

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.

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Those are just some of the questions lingering around the opening of the National Basketball Association playoffs this weekend. Since 2012, James has not lost a single game in the first round. The Cleveland Cavaliers are allowing 36.8 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 42.1 rebounds per game. James had 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Other notable contributors for IN included Thaddeus Young (15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds), Domantas Sabonis (13.3 points, 11.8 rebounds) and Myles Turner (15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks IN one game).

The season series between the Blazers and Pelicans wasn't particularly telling because DeMarcus Cousins played in three of the four games before suffering a ruptured Achilles' heel that ended his season. Cleveland was down 19 after the opening quarter and despite their best efforts, couldn't throw a serious scare into IN the rest of the way. But with lineups changing on an nearly game-by-game basis over the final weeks of the season, it's been a moving target. He made six 3-pointers, swiped the ball from James on two occasions and more than doubled his previous playoff scored high of 15.

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