Pacers should still feel good even after Game 2 loss in Cleveland

LeBron vs Pacers

The Cavs needed a Game of Thrones-like effort from LeBron to squeak out a Game 2 win over Indy.

The Pacers shouldn’t be too discouraged that they lost Game 2 in Cleveland on Wednesday night.

The Cavs shot out to a 26-8 lead in a must-win game on their home floor, Indiana shot just 6-for-22 from three, Victor Oladipo had only 22 on 9-of-18 shooting, and LeBron went off for 46.

And yet, despite all of that, the Pacers only lost by three. Indiana outscored Cleveland in every quarter but the first (which they lost 33-18), and nearly came back and won anyway. They won the second quarter, 28-25, the third 21-16, and the fourth 30-26. They were, almost incredibly, an Oladipo pullup 3 from tying the game up with 22 seconds left.

Cleveland needed a Game of Thrones giant-like performance from LeBron (46 on 17-of-24 shooting, 12 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals), and it still almost wasn’t enough, because the rest of the supporting cast played like a bunch of lilliputians.

Kevin Love scored 15, but he shot 5-of-16 from the floor. He also suffered another ugly-looking injury, this time to his thumb:

He’s expected to play in Game 3.

Kyle Korver was the only other Cavs player in double figures, and he had just 12.

This has been the problem with Cleveland all season, and if LeBron has to continue to play like it’s the 2015 NBA Finals, and he’s got Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov flanking him, it’s going to be one rough postseason.

The series is heading back to Indianapolis, where the Pacers dispatched the Cavs both times they played there this season.

We’d be very surprised if Indy didn’t bring it at home in Game 3, much like they did in their series-opening effort.

LeBron has struggled with the Pacers in the past, specifically the Paul George-Roy Hibbert (remember that dude?!) version, and this time around, they’ve caused him to lose a first round series game for the first time since 2012.

Based on the way these two teams have played so far, Indy should feel pretty good about its chances going forward, and the prospect of stealing another win in Cleveland if necessary.

The Cavs have been underwhelming enough that we called it on Sunday: They’re not coming out of the East.

We’ll see if the Pacers can muster enough out of their supporting cast, and put them out of their misery in Round 1.

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