The consensus storyline surrounding the Pacers following their loss in Cleveland on Wednesday was that they remained in great shape after a split on the road in the first two games and as a team, feel confident they have the goods to send LeBron James into the offseason early.
After James threw an early haymaker and finished the game with 46 points, the Pacers still had an open shot to tie at the end of the game. The miss by Victor Oladipo was one of several missed opportunities or miscues in the last five minutes which stunted the Pacers chances for the comeback win.
While the team remains confident, Nate McMillan spoke after practice on Thursday about how the Pacers simply weren’t good enough or tough enough to match the Cavs on Wednesday. Effort and execution wasn’t to the level McMillan expects.
Fortunately, the Pacers are back home where they have thrived all season. Lance Stephenson and the rest of the bench always enjoy the boost from the BLF faithful. That energy should also create a hostile environment for the a few key players on the Cavs with limited playoff experience.
The role players need to step up for the Pacers, but Oladipo has to bounce back with a better effort knowing the Cavs will continue to extend the pressure on the Pacers star which caused six turnovers as part of Vic’s tough night in Game 2. As Oladipo said, it was just one game which is how they need to approach this series. Each game is all that matters until they log four Ws.
The Pacers believe they can win that race to four wins, now they have to go out and do it.
Tons of great coverage following Game 2, so check out the links:
LeBron James' opening onslaught too much for Pacers in Game 2 - Indy Star
Montieth: Loss Aside, Pacers Have Reasons to Smile | Indiana Pacers
Game Rewind: Pacers 97, Cavaliers 100 (Game 2) | Indiana Pacers
Doyel: Cleveland Cavs have LeBron James, but Indiana Pacers have better team - Indy Star
KRAVITZ: Pacers lose Game 2, but all things considered, they're feeling great about themselves and this series - Bob Kravitz - 13 WTHR Indianapolis
Cleveland Cavaliers show life, winning one the hard way -- Terry Pluto | cleveland.com
Cleveland Cavaliers need more than just LeBron James to beat Indiana Pacers, reach ultimate goal | cleveland.com
For now in playoffs, Cavaliers going with who they know: Inside Cavs-Pacers series | cleveland.com
ESPN Forecast NBA playoffs - New predictions for Round 1
2018 NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers hang on to top Pacers in Game 2, 100-97 - Fear The Sword
Cleveland Cavaliers ride LeBron James's hot start to Game 2 win over Indiana Pacers - ESPN
Kevin Love of Cleveland Cavaliers injures left thumb against Indiana Pacers in Game 2
Cavs vs. Pacers: LeBron James refuses to let Cleveland fall to a 0-2 hole - SBNation.com
LeBron James saved the Cavaliers, per usual - SBNation.com
Pacers vs. Cavs Game 2: Nate McMillan was so mad at a LeBron James no-call that he slipped - SBNation.com
Game 2 Player Grades: Cavaliers survive Pacers 100-97
LeBron does it all as Cavs survive Pacers comeback, tie series at 1-1 - Yahoo! Sports