Sports

Defending Champion Cavaliers Barely Snuck One By No. 7 Indiana Pacers in Game 1

The Cavs won Game 1 at home, but boy, did it sure not feel like it.
April 15, 2017, 9:55pm

The defending NBA Champions the Cleveland Cavaliers barely eked one out today in a battle that saw the Indiana Pacers surge back in the final minutes of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The No. 2 Cavs—who were showing poor form in the waning moments of their regular season—were nearly knocked off by the No. 7 Pacers. Ultimately, luck handed the Cavs a freebie, but the 'business as usual' result will betray just how close the Cavs were to losing this one—at home nonetheless.

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At one point, toward the end of the third, the Cavs sat a healthy 12 points ahead of the Pacers, as Indiana's score flatlined for nearly three minutes. But the fourth quarter bore witness to a surge from a brilliant performance by Paul George and the Pacers, outscoring the Cavs 24-17. In Pacers' second-to-last possession, Paul George pulled up this magnificent beauty with a bit of a gamble from distance:

One. Point. Game.@Pacers trail @cavs 109-108 with 20.3 to play on #NBAonABC#NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/F1LOorMLF2
— NBA (@NBA) April 15, 2017

The game drew close, with a 108-109 scoreline and some great defense by the Pacers to put them in a dangerous position to close this out with the ball and 20 seconds left on the clock. But in the end, the Cavs effectively locked down clutchman Paul George, forcing a shot from C.J. Miles that was just too twisted and off-kilter to land squarely in the basket. The Cavs won Game 1 at home, but boy, did it sure not feel like it.