Cleveland Cavaliers open postseason with 109-108 Game 1 win over Indiana Pacers
CLEVELAND -- One down, 15 more wins to go.
But that first playoff victory for the Cleveland Cavaliers, a 109-108 decision over the Indiana Pacers, was a close one.
Up by as many as 10 points after Kyle Korver hit a three-pointer on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers struggled on the defensive end of the floor, and the Pacers fought their way back to a two-point lead with 3:31 to play in the fourth quarter.
However the Cavaliers outscored the Pacers, 6-3 over the final three minutes to close out the win.
Small forward LeBron James led the way for the Cavaliers with 32 points and 13 assists to go along with six rebounds. James knocked down 12 of his 20 shots from the field, including two of his three looks from three-point range.
In addition to James, the Cavaliers got double-digit scoring efforts from point guard Kyrie Irving (23 points), power forward Kevin Love (17) and reserve forward Channing Frye (11). Center Tristan Thompson corralled 13 rebounds to go along with his eight points.
Five Pacers scored in double figures, led by 29 points from small forward Paul George.
The Cavaliers came out shooting, and hitting, early in Game 1, and that aggressiveness led to a 34-29 advantage after the first quarter.
The second-seeded Cavaliers made it a point to establish players other than James in the early going, namely Love. Love made all three of his looks at the basket, including three-pointers from both sides of the arc on his way to a team-high 10 points over the first 12 minutes.
Irving got into the scoring by driving toward the hoop and using his speed to create shots in the lane, and it worked to the tune of eight first-quarter points. Irving added four assists in 12 minutes of court time.
The Cavaliers assisted on seven of their 13 baskets in the first quarter.
James tallied just four points, but had two rebounds and three assists in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers continued to shoot well in the second quarter, hitting 61 percent of their attempts from the field and 42.9 percent of their three-point tries on the way to a 66-59 lead over the Pacers at halftime of Game 1.
After scoring just four points in the first quarter, James picked up the pace on the offensive end of the floor by scoring 10 on four-of-four shooting in the second. James finished the first half with 14 points to go along with four rebounds, eight assists and one steal.
In addition to James’ all-around game, the Cavaliers got five points from Love and seven more from Irving.
George led the way for the Pacers with 16 first-half points.
James was patient over the first two quarters of play, not forcing any off-balance shots or making ill-advised drives to the basket, but in the third period, he took over and staked the Cavaliers out to a 92-84 lead over the Pacers.
James scored 12 points by sinking five of his seven looks at the basket, including a pair of three-pointers early in the quarter. Additionally, James tallied a pair of assists, one rebound and a pair of steals, the second of which brought everybody inside Quicken Loans Arena to their feet when it turned into a slam dunk.
The Cavaliers got six points from Irving and a three-pointer from Frye in the third quarter.