Cavaliers notebook: Cavs playoff rookies baptized in 98-80 Game 1 loss to PacersThe Akron Beacon Journal — George M. Thomas The Akron Beacon Journal
April 16--CLEVELAND -- The Cavaliers playoff rookies received their baptisms Sunday and the end result wasn't pretty as the team lost 98-80 to the Indiana Pacers to go down 0-1.
Forward Larry Nance Jr., a Bath native and Revere High School graduate, was among a group of playoff newbies that included Jordan Clarkson and rookies Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic.
If one area proved glaring for them and the Cavs in general, it was a lack of overall intensity. Forward LeBron James said it showed how intense a playoff game can be.
So what did the group learn?
"How much different a regular-season game is compared to a postseason game," he said. "It happens that fast. You always hear people say in the regular season sometimes it's a 'playoff-type atmosphere.' Eh, you can't simulate that. You can't simulate that speed. You can't simulate what's going on out there."
Of the group, Nance enjoyed the most success in his role off the bench. He scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds and added a blocked shot while playing generally pesky in the process.
"I absolutely loved it," Nance said. "It's a privilege to get to play in these games and I never take a possession off."
Getting up to speed in that regard is something the rest of that group will have to learn. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue talked about fighting for loose balls, deflections and possessions that can lead to easy offense.
"Early on, I didn't think we did that," he said. "We got a couple steals which you need to convert on. That kind of hurt us offensively."
James said he expects them to learn from the experience.
"Today was definitely a good test for some of our younger guys and, like I said, I think they'll be a lot better especially in Game 2. And not just them. Even the older guys as well. Some of the guys even with experience, including myself, I can be a lot better as well. So, we take it as everybody has to dig deep and not lose two to them on our home floor."
Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver went into Sunday's game against the Pacers on a minutes restriction. Lue, though, likely didn't plan for the veteran shooter to play under four minutes for the game.
He said Korver's foot injury didn't flare up.
"He'll play more next game," Lue said. "I just thought when the game got out of hand and we went small to try to be faster on floor to switch pick-and-rolls and to give them a different look. At that time, sitting there, I didn't want to risk it."
The Cavs, who shot 39 percent for the game and, more notably, were just 8-of-34 from behind the 3-point line, could have used the sharpshooter given the way the Cavs offense malfunctioned.
Prior to tip-off, Lue said the cautious approach the team is taking with Korver shouldn't change much for the team.
"I think we'll be OK," Lue said. "The most important thing is getting Kyle 100 percent. That's the most important thing."
James led the Cavs with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his 20th postseason triple-double, trailing only Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, who had 30.
James did that despite not scoring his first basket until the 10:22 mark of the second quarter as it looked as if he was attempting to get his teammates involved to begin the game. The Cavs, as a team, shot 25 percent (5-of-20) for the quarter
"No, that's just how the game was being played," James said. "Guys had great looks and they just didn't go down. I was assisting and guys just couldn't make shots to start the game so it was just how the game was going on."
The Pacers beat the Cavs in the regular season series 3-1. Normally, regular-season records get tossed, but with the Pacers' thumping of the Cavs, there may be some validity to the issue.
Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, who led all scorers with 32 points and made 6-of-9 shots from deep, said the team just wanting to play as it had all season.
"I think we already had that belief, we believe that we can win," he said. "We came into this game with a mentality that we wanted to attack on both ends of the floor and play the way we've been playing all year, and we did a great job of that.
"But like I said, it's only one game, it's only Game 1. Got to get ready for Game 2."
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ.
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