Cavaliers escape with slim victory

The Cavaliers beat the Pacers, 109-108, on April 15 at Quicken Loans Arena because a shot by IN guard C.J. Miles clanked off the left front side of the rim at the final horn.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Kawhi Leonard matched his career playoff high with 32 points despite sitting out the fourth quarter as San Antonio used a big third quarter to forge a victory over Memphis in Game 1 of the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

The Pacers' C.J. Miles put up jumper in the closing seconds that would have likely given his a team a dramatic victory, but it missed and put the Cavaliers up 1-0 in the series.

Miles', to take the final shot in the Indiana Pacers' 109-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Fast forward to the end of the game and he finished with 32 on 12-of-20 shooting, adding six rebounds, 13 assists and three steals.

The Cavs had to go double overtime on April 2 to beat IN, 135-130, at The Q. Paul George scored 43 points for the Pacers IN that game. Finally, George should have immediately cut inside after his pass to try and get a look at a last-second layup attempt instead of rolling around the double team and trying for a trailing three.

Cleveland finished the game shooting 53.8 per cent from the field, after being above 60 per cent for the first half.

Game 2 is Monday night in San Antonio.

Cleveland struggled from the free throw line, hitting 14-of-27 on the night, including several misses down the stretch. "Now, common knowledge would dictate that after one, possibly two instances of the 6'2" Teague guarding James, a literal M1 Abrams tank, that IN would attempt to change their game plan slightly and bring help defense. He also recorded his 85th playoff game with at least 30 points, the third most in National Basketball Association history.

He rejoined the Pacers on March 30 and was pivotal in them going 5-1 to make the playoffs. If he expected it back, he didn't really put himself in a good position to get it back, and if the Pacers wanted him to get a clean look, they didn't run a play to ensure he got one without the double team derailing it (and let's not talk about Lance Stephenson being "open" on that play).

In this game we saw the Cavaliers leveraging LeBron's size off these switches but they can find a similar advantage by involving Love and letting him take a smaller defender in the post, or letting Irving attack a big off the dribble. This was expected to be a hard matchup for Turner, but Turner in turn needs to make Thompson pay on the other end, he had just two shot attempts outside of the paint, going 1-2.

Even after missing one of two from the line, the Pacers had an opportunity to win the game. We missed 13 free throws, turned the ball over and got 19 points in transition. "I was happy with the emotion and energy we had".

IN came into the game having won five games in a row, a streak that was necessary for the Pacers to even make it into the playoffs. Stephenson had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in Game 1, and in was +7 in the almost 27 minutes he was on the floor. The Cavaliers are 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 home games and 17-9 ATS in their last 26 Conference Quarterfinals games.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points and Tony Parker contributed 18 of his own with game two back in San Antonio on Monday. They scored half as many points in the fourth quarter (17) as they did in the first (34). "LeBron's a competitor, he wants to win and me tapering his minutes down, he thought it would be bad, especially with the things we was going through at the time", Lue said.

The Pacers trailed 92-84 at the start of the fourth quarter, but remained in striking distance with Jeff Teague, George and Stephenson leading the way. Center Tristan Thompson corralled 13 rebounds to go along with his eight points.

LeBron James, however, had a great response to George's criticism, saying George made the right play and he should live with the result.

  • Julie Sanders