James finished the game with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds but was not able to prevent his side from going behind in the series as the Pacers won 98-80 after a blistering 33-14 lead after the first quarter, with guard Victor Oladipo scoring 32 points for the visitors.
The only time Sunday's result was ever in any true danger came as the Cavs whittled a 23 point Pacers' lead down to seven early in the fourth quarter.
Oladipo led all scorers with 32 points, adding six rebounds as well in his starring performance.
The Pacers lead swelled to 23 at one point in the second half but Cleveland fought back and cut the lead to 7 points.
Regardless, James is not anxious as he and the Cavs have come back from worse predicaments, notably being 3-1 down to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, only to claw their way back and remarkably win the series 4-3. "We talked about some of the things that Cleveland would do".
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.
The Cavaliers struggled shooting the ball as they hit only 38.5 percent from the field.
But you wouldn't have known it from the Pacers' demeanor as they fielded questions from the media on Monday.
The worst example of the ineptitude was power forward Jeff Green, who went 0-for-7 from the floor - including 0-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc - for zero points and a starting lineup-worst minus-15 rating in almost 27 minutes played.
He also talks about how Gilbert actually wanted to take Oladipo with the first pick in the 2013 draft, but the front office was sold on Anthony Bennett so they went with him.
Larry Nance Jr. (six points), Rodney Hood (two ), George Hill (two), and Jordan Clarkson (two) were the only Cavs to add to the scoreboard in the first quarter besides James (two points). He returned in the fourth quarter but was noticeably hobbling. Maybe it shows them some obvious adjustments to make moving forward.
Things have been as hard for the Cavaliers this season as they've ever been during LeBron James' tenure with the team. While the Cavaliers will undoubtedly play better in Game 2, the fact remains that the Pacers have had their number this season.
"We just had a number of (shots) go in and out", Love said. Everyone in the team's regular rotation has played in the playoffs before. (30) broke the 30 minute barrier in the contest. IN simply stifled Cleveland and didn't panic when they saw the lead trimmed to seven. Are this year's Pacers ready to take the next step they couldn't with Paul George?
Harden's 44 points were one shy of tying his playoff career-high and five points shy of tying the Rockets' all-time record. "Right now, I'm focused on Game 2". It's hard to see the Cavaliers being held to 80 points again. Green's minus-15 in his 27 minutes was the worst on the team, as he contributed almost nothing in the humiliating Game 1 loss.
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