CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers were on the wrong end of a 98-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena Sunday, but despite the setback, those who never experienced postseason basketball embraced the moment.
Power forward Larry Nance Jr. and guard Jordan Clarkson were among the players getting their first playoff action with the fourth-seeded Cavaliers, and both took lessons from the defeat.
“Absolutely, I loved it,” Nance Jr. said. “Loved it. It’s a privilege to get to play in this game, so never take a possession off.”
In the first quarter, the Cavaliers made only five of their 20 attempts from the field, and that included an 0-for-8 showing from three-point range, while the Pacers made 12 baskets, including three triples from Oladipo, on the way to a 33-14 lead after the first quarter.
Oladipo led the way for the Pacers with 11 points on three-of-six shooting, including a three-for-four mark from long distance, in the first quarter.
“Be aggressive,” Clarkson said of the lesson learned from the Game 1 loss. “I felt like throughout the game, we weren’t taking advantage of what they were doing. All of us kind of got to be aggressive, look to score and make plays.
“Being aggressive, making plays. I feel like a lot of us were passive, and that’s it. Cutting down on turnovers, we’re right there in the game. We cut it to 10. We didn’t make shots like we usually do, but we’ll turn it around.”
Although the Cavaliers never recovered from the slow start, Nance Jr. settled into a rhythm, making five of his seven field goal attempts on the way to 10 points to go along with five rebounds, one assist, a blocked shot and two steal over nearly 30 minutes of action.
“They were just more aggressive than us, knocking us off our cuts, getting to spots they wanted to get to on their offensive end, and we were just having a hard time getting shots to fall,” Nance Jr. said.
While Clarkson did not make a three-pointer, he converted two of his three looks inside the arc and two free throws on the way to six points. Additionally, Clarkson pulled down one rebound, handed out an assist and stole one pass in just over 20 minutes of play.
“I don’t think (any) nerves from me,” Clarkson said. “A lot of it was just thinking, a lot of thinking instead of playing. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to go out there and do what you do.”