It’s finally here!
After a long regular season filled with predictable outcomes and unpredictable, historic individual seasons, Saturday marked the beginning of the real season in the eyes of many. The playoffs are back and right out of the gate, we see why this time of year is exciting.
Entering this series, these two teams were polar opposites of each other. After struggling throughout the last month of the season the Cavs looked to right the ship versus the Pacers, while the Pacers played their way into the playoff fold, trying to stay hot versus the Cavs.
Game one was a nail biter where each team essentially continued their play that they had taken into the playoffs.
Although the Cavs came out on top 109-108, it was a win that was reminiscent of the last month of the season: A lot of offense with little to no defense.
The Cavs found their rhythm offensively with the usual suspects, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, carrying the load. Defensively, however, the team continued to show weakness as Indiana had multiple chances to win the game at the end, but failed to give their best player, Paul George, the last shot of the game which resulted in the loss.
Game 2 featured a Cavs team that really retained that offensive prowess and had leads upwards of 19 points throughout the game. Through the first three-quarters, they had shown signs of improvement defensively, keeping George and the Pacers at bay.
Entering the fourth quarter, things began to unravel defensively.
Down 109-94 at one point with less than five minutes to play, the Pacers went on a 10-0 run to bring the game to within five points while the Cavs failed to score offensively in some time.
After a Cleveland timeout, the Cavs continued to look stagnant offensively, but James bailed them out with a floater that went in as time was ticking down on the shot clock. That shot gave Cleveland a six-point lead with less than two minutes remaining and it would ultimately propel them to a 117-111 win.
What’s telling about this game is the fact that once again, the Pacers had its chances to win, even despite the huge deficit early in the game. In the fourth quarter, they outscored the Cavs 33-21 where once again, the defense began to fail Cleveland down the stretch.
Although they are up 2-0, they are squeaking out wins instead of dominating. They will beat the Pacers, but at this rate, will they be able to get past other teams? That is the question.
Do you think the Cavs are a lock to make it back to the Finals? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.