Five Keys: Cavaliers vs. Pacers - Game 1

LeBron James left and Bojan Bogdanovic

In the most surprising result of the 2018 National Basketball Association playoffs so far, the Indiana Pacers waltzed into Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday afternoon and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers by 18 points to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round series.

It's a bit concerning if you're a Cavaliers fan that the other four-fifths of the starting lineup managed a total of one more point (25) than James scored himself (24) in the opener. He revealed previously that four of them will be LeBron James, Kevin Love, Jeff Green and George Hill.

Traditionally a second half team, IN got off to a fast start, leading by 19 at the end of the first quarter.

Cleveland did win the final matchup between the two teams, but all four games were before the Isaiah Thomas trade, so there isn't a whole lot to glean from the season series.

Sabonis started three games against Cleveland this season and registered double-doubles in each of them. "So it's not like we were doing something special or so creative or we got some brand-new defense".

Cleveland finished two games ahead of IN in the standings.

After the Cavaliers closed the deficit to 76-69 with a driving layup by James, the Pacers answered with a 12-2 run, including 3-pointers by Oladipo and Bogdanovic, to take 88-71 lead with 7:28 to go in the fourth quarter.

This is all new to James, who had won 21 consecutive first-round games and lost a postseason for the first time in his 13th playoffs. The 76ers have their own issues with Joel Embiid likely to miss the start of their first-round series with the Miami Heat.

The Cavs made it a single-digit game in the fourth quarter but that was as close as they could get as the Pacers. They were only expected to maybe matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers in round one as an 8 seed, but they're a five seed that took three games from the Cavs in the regular season.

Pacers: Only have two starters -- Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young - from the team Cleveland swept a year ago. IN quickly went on a 12-2 run to restore a 17 point lead and that was that.

As for Cleveland's reserves, Jordan Clarkson, J.R. Smith and Jose Calderon are in the rotational mix, with forwards Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. being used depending on whom in has on the floor.

After going nuts against IN in the regular season a year ago, the Pacers solved Kyle Korver IN 2017-18 - holding Cleveland's sharpshooter to 21 percent shooting, including a 1-for-14 mark from deep. If I had to pick something they've been great at, it'd probably be forcing turnovers, which they're third at, with Oladipo leading the league at 2.36 steals a game.

Personally I find it a bit ironic that the Pacers have to go through LeBron one more time. "They came in and they were aggressive in Game 1".

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