Pac­ers hand LeBron, Cavs their first loss in the open­ing round in eight years

Sun.Star Cebu - - TOP STORIES -

LeBron James may be bet­ter than ever, but that didn’t stop the Pac­ers from stun­ning his team.

Vic­tor Oladipo scored 32 points and the In­di­ana Pac­ers held off Cleve­land’s sec­ond-half rally for a stun­ning 98-80 vic­tory Sun­day in Game 1 of the Eastern Con­fer­ence se­ries, hand­ing LeBron James and the Cava­liers’ their first loss in the open­ing round in eight years.

In­di­ana was in con­trol from the out­set, open­ing a 21-point lead in the first quar­ter and lead­ing by 23 in the third. The Cavs stormed back and got within seven, but Oladipo hit a big 3-pointer and Bo­jan Bog­danovic helped put Cleve­land away with a 3 to make it 88-71.

The Pac­ers com­pletely out­played the three-time de­fend­ing con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons, whose tur­bu­lent reg­u­lar sea­son has car­ried over into the play­offs. Game 2 is Wed­nes­day night. James scored 24 with 12 as­sists and 10 re­bounds for his 20th ca­reer triple-dou­ble. But James got lit­tle help as Cleve­land’s four other starters — Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rod­ney Hood and Ge­orge Hill — com­bined for 25 points.

This is all new to James, who had won 21 con­sec­u­tive firstround games and lost a post­sea­son for the first time in his 13th play­offs. The 33-year-old is try­ing to get to his eighth straight Fi­nals, and al­ready the path is tougher than imag­ined.

Cleve­land had won 14 straight first-round games, last los­ing on April 22, 2010, the last sea­son of James’ first stint with the Cavs. In­di­ana was swept by Cleve­land in last year’s open­ing round.


In Bos­ton, Al Hor­ford had 24 points and 12 re­bounds and Bos­ton over­came Khris Mid­dle­ton’s long 3 that beat the fourth-quar­ter buzzer to top Mil­wau­kee in Game 1 of the Eastern Con­fer­ence se­ries.

The Celtics led 99-96 with 0.5 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion when Mid­dle­ton took an in­bounds pass on the far right wing and hit a con­tested 35-footer.

Terry Rozier added 23 points, four re­bounds and three as­sists for Bos­ton in his first ca­reer play­off start. Jaylen Brown fin­ished with 20 points, and rookie Jayson Ta­tum added 19 points and 10 re­bounds.

Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo led the Bucks with 35 points, 13 re­bounds and seven as­sists be­fore foul­ing out in over­time. Mid­dle­ton had 31 points, eight re­bounds and six as­sists.

Game 2 is Tues­day night in Bos­ton.


In Hous­ton, James Harden scored 44 points and pow­ered a big fourth-quar­ter run that al­lowed Hous­ton to out­last Min­ne­sota in Game 1 of the first-round play­off se­ries.

Min­ne­sota scored four straight points to get within 3 with about 30 sec­onds left. Chris Paul added two free throws af­ter that for Hous­ton, but a tip-in by Karl-An­thony Towns got Min­ne­sota back within 3. Af­ter a bad pass by Paul gave Min­ne­sota a chance to tie with 1.5 sec­onds left, Jimmy But­ler’s shot was short.

The top-seeded Rock­ets had their hands full with the No. 8 Tim­ber­wolves on a night where Hous­ton made just 10 of 37 3-point­ers. /


CLOSED LANE. Vic­tor Oladipo stops a drive by LeBron James in Game 1 of their first round se­ries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.