Post-Game Grades: Pacers dismantle inferior Cavaliers


Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers took the first step towards shocking the world by taking Game 1 from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Shocking the world requires winning the series, but by taking Game 1 on the road from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana is setting themselves up to do just that.

100. Final. 79. 156. 98

Victor Oladipo dropped 32 points to lead the Pacers, but the team’s effort to hold the Cavaliers under 80 points was more impressive. Cleveland shot a retched 38.5 percent from the field on Sunday, as well as 23.5% from deep. They’re going to shoot better than that on a given night, but the Pacers took away easy drives and charged the 3-point line to make the task more difficult for Cleveland.

And again, by taking Game 1 away from Cleveland on the road, they made winning the series more difficult for the Cavaliers. Indiana can defend home court and win the series now. That’s no easy task, but it is easier than it was before Sunday’s win.

The Pacers need Myles Turner to continue to score and rebound as he did in Game 1. 16 points and 8 rebounds were enough to all but split (46-44) the rebounding battle with Cleveland. They took away easy fast break points from the Cavaliers while creating 18 of their own. Cleveland’s bench punished the Pacers for the most part, but it was only enough to tighten up the game in the third quarter.

Once the fourth quarter came, it was Oladipo’s time to shine. He scored 10 points of 4 of 5 shooting while he and the team went through the fourth with zero turnovers. They only forced two on defense, but Indiana was more than willing to trade punches with Cleveland in Game 1.

It’s only round one, but it was a decisive victory for Indiana.

The Good: They say a series doesn’t start until the home team loses. Guess this one got started early.

The Bad: Lance Stephenson did some really stupid things in this game. Somehow the technical foul on LeBron wasn’t the worst.

His untimely turnover in the third quarter made it look like an old episode of “LeBron vs the Pacers” where the life is taken out of them with a big push by the King.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Thankfully for Indiana, they had Oladipo and company to mop up the mess.

MVP: Oladipo’s 32 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and block are good enough to earn him the honor on stats alone. But it was the timeliness of his scoring in the fourth that truly earned it. Cleveland had gotten themselves back into late in the third quarter, but once Oladipo came in with 10 minutes left in the game, the flow of the game shifted Indiana’s direction.

LVP: Don’t do stupid stuff, Lance.

X-Factor: Thaddeus Young of 7 points and 3 rebounds hides his impact. Defensively he kept pressure off Myles at the rim and held his own against the likes of Jeff Green, as well as Kevin Love and LeBron. He gives Indiana needed flexibility in their frontcourt. As long as the team is outscoring the Cavaliers, Young will be happy with winning over stats.

B. Did his job with 6 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. His playmaking opened up the floor for the Pacers to shoot 45.3 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from deep. He held his own on defense as well.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO. A. Playoff Victor Oladipo > well, you know…. SG

Bojan’s 15 points and 6 rebounds came quietly as he took too many shots to get those points. His 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) from the floor wasn’t great, but at least his 4 of 4 from the line helped make up for it.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC. C+

THADDEUS YOUNG. A-. Ignore his basic stats and noticed that the Pacers had a plus-minus of +23 when Thad was on the floor.. PF. Indiana Pacers

A. The Pacers need Myles Turner to show up to win, and he did just that. It’s one of the biggest keys to Indiana winning the series.. C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER

DOMANTAS SABONIS. D+. 4 points and 4 rebounds, as well as 3 fouls in the first-half do not make for a highlight reel.. C. Indiana Pacers

C-. 12 points, 5 rebounds, and one stupid technical. The Pacers play on the edge with Stephenson, and they nearly fell off with him tonight.. SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON

PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH. C+. Cory’s stat line is brought to you by the number three: 3 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

B-. Much like Thad, 3 points and 4 rebounds don’t tell you the impact Booker had. His physical play steadied a rough overall bench performance. He picked up 3 fouls along the way, but that means the starters weren’t having to worry about foul trouble.. F. Indiana Pacers. TREVOR BOOKER

Next: 8p9s Roundtable: It's Playoff Time

Game 2 comes your way on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on TNT.