LeBron James loses first ever playoff opener vs. Pacers
Throughout his illustrious career, LeBron James has made getting out of the first round of the playoffs a normalcy in each of his trips to the postseason. In fact, the last several years he has had an unblemished mark in the first round with his last loss coming in 2012 when he was a member of the Miami Heat.
James and the Cavaliers were put in an unfamiliar situation as the Indiana Pacers pulled out an impressive series-opening win on Sunday afternoon in convincing fashion, 98-80. According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, this marked the first time in James’ career that he has lost Game 1 of any first-round playoff matchup.
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) April 15, 2018
The Pacers had taken full control out of the gate racing to a comfortable double-digit lead through much of the contest that reached a game-high 23 points in the third quarter. The Cavaliers made a significant push in the fourth quarter, but All-Star guard Victor Oladipo led the charge for Indiana to keep them at bay by hitting several big shots as part of his game-best 32 points.
James did more than his part to help will his team back from the deficit as he notched his 20th career playoff triple-double and 98th overall finishing with 24 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes played. However, the rest of the Cavaliers’ starters in Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rodney Hood, and George Hill all combined for just 25 points.
This effectively snaps a 21-game winning streak that James had in Game 1 of the first round that saw him go 12-0 in his first dozen trips to the postseason as he’s never lost an opening-round series. His last loss in a first-round game was May 6, 2012 in Game 4 of the series between the Heat and New York Knicks. It will be interesting to see how James and the Cavaliers respond to the loss with Game 2 set for Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.