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Cavaliers rocked in playoff opener

By JOE VARDON • Apr 15, 2018 at 10:53 PM

CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers' slogan for the 2018 playoffs is "Whatever it Takes."

Well, it's gonna take more than that.

LeBron James had his 21-game winning streak in the first round snapped and lost a playoffs opener for the first time in the Indiana Pacers' 98-80 victory Sunday.

Counting the regular season, 80 points is the Cavs' second-lowest total this year.

The Pacers, behind 32 points from Victor Oladipo, did much more than make sure they would not be swept out of a first-series two years in a row by the Cavs. They put James in a situation he's never seen before: down 0-1 in the first round. He was 12-0 in his first dozen postseason openers.

James finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his 20th playoff triple double and 98th double double. He logged 44 minutes and shot 7-of-17 with three turnovers.

James' last loss in a first-round game was May 6, 2012, in Game 4 of the Miami-New York series. He's never lost a first-round series.

James passed Michael Jordan (2,188 field goals) for second place in NBA playoff history for baskets, and became the third player in history with at least 1,500 playoff assists.

JR Smith was great off the bench with 15 points and Larry Nance Jr., in his first playoff game, added 10 rebounds and five assists.

So many Cavs suffered through bad games. Jeff Green was miserable. He was shut out on 0-of-6 shooting. Kevin Love finished with 17 rebounds to go with nine points, but shot 3-of-8 and didn't score until there was 1:53 left in the first half.

Kyle Korver, battling a sore foot, was 0-of-3 with a turnover in four minutes. Jordan Clarkson, in his first playoff game, contributed six points on 2-of-6 shooting.

Oladipo wasn't with Indiana the last time these two teams met in the playoffs last season. The Pacers traded Paul George to Oklahoma City for him and Domantas Sabonis, instead of doing a three-team trade in which George would've come to Cleveland.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said last summer "that Indiana could've done better than it did."

Sure didn't look like it Sunday. Oladipo was 11-of-19 from the field with six 3s, setting a career high for playoff points. Myles Turner added 16 points and seven rebounds.

This one was only briefly close. Cleveland trailed 33-14 after a quarter, by 17 at halftime, by as many as 21 in the third quarter, but trailed by just eight after three quarters and was down 76-69 with 10:28 left. Oladipo shut down the Cavs' comeback with 10 fourth-quarter points.

The Cavs coughed up 20 points off 17 turnovers and was 8-of-34 from 3-point range.

The Pacers led by as many as 21 in the first quarter. James and Love combined for two points — they belonged to James, on two free throws with 1:52 left. James' first official shot came with 1:24 left in the opening period — an errant 3.

Love and Korver were a combined 0-of-6. The Cavs missed all eight 3s. They committed seven turnovers. You get the idea.

Game 2 of this first-round series is at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Cleveland.

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